Sibling rivalry around the world

Brother rivalry has been a chronic issue in the world for a long time. Because siblings spend so much time together, their bond is very important in a person's life. Furthermore, they usually provide social assistance to one another (Goldin and Mitchell 3). Nonetheless, due to economic disparities between members of one family, incidents of sibling rivalry have increased. Diversities in priorities, gender, education levels, expectations, age, and wants can all contribute to an economic difference between relatives. Most significantly, the greater the disparities in their wealth level, the more difficult it is to maintain their relationships. Studies have also indicated that gender inequalities have greatly contributed to the sibling rivalry (Olivetti and Petrongolo 10). Individuals normally feel worse when they realize that they are earning less their brothers and sisters. Similarly, they are likely to feel disfranchised when they are categorized in the lower social status than their siblings are. Furthermore, they experience relative deprivation as the income gap widens even if their wealth measures are higher. Dissonance arises between those who feel that they do have enough as their brother or sister has. In this regard, it generates the first resentment or envy, which is later followed by shame. In case most of the persons in the family have a feeling of deprivation while a few feel satisfied, it raises the interpersonal tensions (Juhn and McCue 2). For instance, when siblings have income disparities, their children attend different types of schools, which escalate the problem. On the contrary, when persons have a feeling of equality in their wealth levels, there is a sense of closeness and happiness.

The economic theory suggests that siblings in a family tend to compete for resources. However, their parents are usually unable to mobilize adequate resources to spend maximally in the human capital of their kids and the challenge is worsened by challenges experienced by parents acquiring credit and in adaptably allocating time (Shrestha and Palaniswamy 1). Consequently, even in the events where there are better returns on investment in human capital of their offspring, education levels tend to be significantly low.

Furthermore, parents are forced to ration their time and accessible funds to every child. Eventually, siblings turn out to be rivals even in a situation where there is no clear strategic trait on the side of any relative or family members (Garg and Morduch 5). In terms of psychological principles of sibling rivalry, the ages and relative genders of siblings can play a significant part in shaping the results of these rivalries. For instance, it establishes differences in human capital between family members that generate severe effects as compared to sibling rivalries from divergent families (Goldin and Mitchell 3). Sibling rivalry has a significant economic impact depending on the gender of the individual. Female-male discrepancies in terms of proceeds to investments are normally affected by the gender gaps in education.

Literature Review

A wide range of studies has been conducted to determine how gender gaps contribute sibling rivalries in different parts of the world. A study conducted in Ghana examined how differences in human capital investments enlarge income disparities between men and women. In this regard, the findings of the study highlighted that since girls’ education is less valued as compared to that of the boys’, they tend to have lower human capital, which leads to lower income status relative to their male counterparts (Garg and Morduch 6). Therefore, the unequal treatment of the parents to their children will also enhance the gender gaps, which ultimately lead to increased sibling conflicts. Additionally, the researchers indicated that parents in Ghana normally believed that boys have better returns to investments than girls do. Precisely, they argued that girls tend to leave the home while boys remain after their education (Correll, Benard, and Paik 5). Such cases demonstrate that most parents in the developing countries educate their children because of anticipated economic returns in the future. Due to constraints in resources, children are forced to compete for accessible resources in the household. In so doing, the siblings with lower returns on investment are disregard (Olivetti and Petrongolo 11).

In developing countries, income disparities among male and females are attributed to difference in educational preference. Most societies favour education for the boy child as opposed to the girl child. Therefore, the gender witnessed in human capital is determined partially by the domestic labour markers that appear to support men as opposed to women (Correll, Benard, and Paik 2). The growing global economy has accelerated the emergence of skilled jobs in the third world countries. However, less number of women has skills needed to perform such tasks. Therefore, these jobs are not accessible to women as compared to men, which widen income inequalities and subsequently the sibling rivalry (Peter, Lundborg, and Webbink 3).

A study noted that in the current era, women have surpassed or equaled men in terms of academic levels. However, the findings of the study pointed out that men and women receive different wages enhancing the gender gaps (Peter, Lundborg, and Webbink 4). Moreover, the men incomes are rising in the share of siblings who are brothers although that of women is unresponsive to the gender of the sibling. The economist revealed that the differences in terms of income across gender are affected by statistical discrimination from the management, and adaptability of working hours. It also discovered that such pay inequalities occur based on the assessment of the probability of quitting from the workforce (Garg and Morduch 11).

In addition, Juhn and McCue in their study utilized psychological reasoning to explain the discrepancies in gender income. Therefore, the association between income and the five basic character traits were determined. Precisely, agreeableness appeared to possess a considerable effect on the gender discrepancies in income with men displaying higher levels of earnings to resentment as compared to women (Juhn and McCue 5).

According to Correll, Benard, and Paik, in the American families, brothers are viewed to possess a positive influence as compared to their sisters. Therefore, the scholars discovered that gender is a crucial dynamic for the interactions in the labour market among sisters and brothers. In this respect, brothers may undesirably affect the home environment and work attitudes of women as opposed to that of men. However, the effect of sibling gender is relatively less well recognized (Correll, Benard, and Paik 13). A positive effect of brothers on the women academics was established although other studies have failed to establish such associations (Peter, Lundborg, and Webbink 3). Additionally, the researchers asserted that human capital investment between different genders might cause sibling rivalries due to economic development inequalities.

Other researchers such as Shrestha and Palaniswamy claimed that sibling composition has no direct impacts on wages. It may be applied as a tool for appraising the outcomes of education on earning. Therefore, there is no balance between girls and boys in terms of their returns on human capital investment (Shrestha and Palaniswamy 1). The study assessed the impacts of the gender of twin sibling on family formation, education and earnings. The researchers utilized twins in order to eliminate selection bias and confounders.

The research discovered that parental preferences on particular sex compositions as compared to others normally complicate the education, earning and family formation. The sibling affects both women and men although in a divergent manner. For instance, men having brothers are more likely to acquire higher income as compared to those with sisters (Peter, Lundborg & Webbink 5). Similarly, they tend to marry and maintain their families relative to those with sisters. Additionally, the results of the study also indicated that girls with sisters seem to acquire lower academic level and get married at a younger age as opposed girls with brothers. The researchers concluded that siblings influence social dynamics especially on sibling rivalry (Garg and Morduch 6). They also inferred that boys with sisters are more likely to earn higher salaries as compared to their siblings.

Similarly, a research by Cools and Patacchini discovered that the income of women having brothers is approximately 10 per cent less as compared to their counterparts without brothers. Some of the causes for such income disparities are due to lower occupation groups and education (Cools and Patacchini 3). Others factors that may contribute to such differences include differences in gender identity and cognitive differences. The researchers discovered that girls in a family with brothers become victims of many family tasks and traditional duties. Therefore, gender roles in the family account for more than 20 per cent of the income discrepancies between girls with or without brothers. The outcomes are stronger for siblings whose mothers are more religious and highly educated as well as inclined to traditional gender roles (Garg and Morduch 11).

A study discovered that siblings with fewer brothers than sister are likely to benefit from pro-male biases in the society. Such cases, the scientists discovered that in Taiwan siblings with many older sisters appeared to achieve higher rates of education qualifications (Rao and Chatterjee 12). However, these benefits are not realized if the parents tend to act fairly across all gender.

According to Correll, Benard, and Paik, women experience a series of income penalty, though the underlying aspects generating it continues to be elusive. The parental status is a key determinant, which affects mostly women as compared to men. In this regard, the management indicated higher tendencies to favour fathers in their jobs but are against mothers (Correll, Benard, and Paik 6). Additionally, mothers face increased cases of discrimination in their earnings at the workplaces. In the US, employed mothers undergo unfair income penalty of 5% per-child. Therefore, for female workers below 35 years, the pay gap between non-mothers and mother is higher than that between women and men (Rao and Chatterjee 12).


Based on the findings of various studies, the relationship between sibling rivalry and income inequality can be identified. In fact, for men the probability of earning a higher income is higher as compared to the women counterparts (Peter, Lundborg, and Webbink 5). The association of high wages among women is linked to the sex composition of the family. In this respect, most of the studies have identified that a boy with many sisters is linked to better salary as compared to a girl with many sisters in the family. Furthermore, the probability of a boy with many brothers to earn higher wages is lower. There is no substantial impact of sib-ship sex composition is noticeable among women. The association between lower wage rates among women is also linked to the number of siblings in the family. Therefore, it implies that women from families with many children are likely to be negatively affected by their ability to attain higher income as compared to men (Cools and Patacchini 9).

According to the data, there is a relationship between the gender of the sibling and success in marriage, employment and education. Since parents tend to prefer boys than girls in terms of return of human capital investment, boys in some areas are likely to acquire education and a job relative to their girls counterparts. Similarly, girls with many brothers are linked to higher incidence of marriage. Therefore, such women are associated to the poor rate of income (Correll, Benard, and Paik 2). Furthermore, their hourly wages appears to be individually affected. Additionally, the analysis highlighted a negative relationship between the number of siblings and the capacity to complete school among women.

The key finding from the analysis is the negative effect of brothers in promoting higher income of their sisters in the future. The effects of the sibling sex compositions are a significant component, which greatly determines the income of both men and women. For instance, women with a high number of brothers in their families probably earned 10 per cent less in their salaries as compared to those without brothers (Shrestha and Palaniswamy 7).

From the analysis of this study, it is evident that having brothers in a family is not certainly helpful to women. In such families, the number of responsibilities and traditional tasks allocated to girls may increase which intensify their inabilities to pursue academic goals. Conduct and behavioural disorders are more prevalent among boys in a family but girls suffer from increased tension and stress. Furthermore, brothers are less beneficial to their sisters in finding employment especially when they work in different careers (Rao and Chatterjee 14). Parents’ attitudes especially on traditional roles of a girl child or religious beliefs have significant effects on the future employability and income status of women.

The existence of brothers in a family demonstrates a positive association to employment and higher income among men. Therefore, a family composed of all brothers as compared to few sisters is associated with higher income for men at about 10 per cent. The higher wages among women is related to lower number of children (Peter, Lundborg, and Webbink 7). A woman with many children is more likely to suffer from penalties in the workplace as compared to a man.


In the contemporary labour markets, women continue to receive lower wages as compared to their men counterparts. Sibling rivalry seems to be a contributing factor as it affects the ability of some women to attain higher education and employment (Peter, Lundborg, and Webbink 7). In some instance, parents tend to prefer sons to their daughters because they are believed to provide higher value in human capital assets (Cools and Patacchini 1). A girl having brothers in a family is likely to have fewer wage rates in the future as opposed to vice versa. Therefore, the existence of sibling rivalry appears to be the main reason contributing to higher disparities in income affecting women.

Work Cited

Cools, Angela, and Eleonora Patacchini. "Sibling Gender Composition and Women's Wages." (2017).

Correll, Shelley J., Stephen Benard, and In Paik. "Getting a job: Is there a motherhood penalty?." American journal of sociology 112.5 (2007): 1297-1338.

Garg, Ashish, and Jonathan Morduch. "Sibling rivalry and the gender gap: Evidence from child health outcomes in Ghana." Journal of Population Economics 11.4 (1998): 471-493.

Garg, Ashish, and Jonathan Morduch. Sibling rivalry, resource constraints, and the health of children. Harvard Institute of Economic Research, 1996.

Goldin, Claudia, and Joshua Mitchell. "The New Life Cycle of Women's Employment: Disappearing Humps, Sagging Middles, Expanding Tops." The Journal of Economic Perspectives 31.1 (2017): 161-182.

Juhn, Chinhui, and Kristin McCue. "Specialization Then and Now: Marriage, Children, and the Gender Earnings Gap across Cohorts." The Journal of Economic Perspectives 31.1 (2017): 183-204.

Olivetti, C., and B. Petrongolo. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries." J Econ Perspect (2017).

Peter, Noemi, Petter Lundborg, and Dinand H. Webbink. "The Effect of Sibling's Gender on Earnings, Education and Family Formation." (2015).

Rao, Neel, and Twisha Chatterjee. "Sibling gender and wage differences." Applied Economics (2017): 1-21.

Shrestha, Slesh A., and Nethra Palaniswamy. "Sibling rivalry and gender gap: intrahousehold substitution of male and female educational investments from male migration prospects." Journal of Population Economics 30.4 (2017): 1355-1380.

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