Yen-Chien Chen

National Chinan University

Institutional Affiliation: National Taiwan University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2019Understanding the Mechanisms of Parental Divorce Effects on Child’s Higher Education
with Elliott Fan, Jin-Tan Liu: w25886
In this paper we evaluate the degree to which the adverse parental divorce effect on university education operates through deprivation of economic resources. Using one million siblings from Taiwan, we first find that parental divorce occurring at ages 13-18 led to a 10.6 percent decrease in the likelihood of university admission at age 18. We then use the same sample to estimate the effect of parental job loss occurring at the same ages, and use the job-loss effect as a benchmark to indicate the potential parental divorce effect due to family income loss. We find the job-loss effect very little. Combined, these results imply a minor role played by reduced income in driving the parental divorce effect on the child’s higher education outcome. Non-economic mechanisms, such as psychological an...
August 2014The Impact of Family Composition on Educational Achievement
with Stacey H. Chen, Jin-Tan Liu: w20443
Parents preferring sons tend to go on to have more children until a boy is born, and to concentrate investment in boys for a given number of children (sibsize). Thus, having a brother may affect child education in two ways: an indirect effect by keeping sibsize lower and a direct rivalry effect where sibsize remains constant. We estimate the direct and indirect effects of a next brother on the first child’s education conditional on potential sibsize. We address endogenous sibsize using twins. We find new evidence of sibling rivalry and gender bias that cannot be detected by conventional methods.

Published: Stacey H. Chen & Yen-Chien Chen & Jin-Tan Liu, 2019. "The Impact of Family Composition on Educational Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, vol 54(1), pages 122-170. citation courtesy of

Is the 'Quarter of Birth' Endogenous? Evidence From One Million Siblings in Taiwan
with Elliott Fan, Jin-Tan Liu: w20444
Recent studies based on US data have provided evidence to suggest that the 'quarter of birth' (QOB) may be endogenous and that the use of QOB as an instrumental variable will consequently produce inconsistent estimates (see Buckles and Hungerman, 2013). Such potential endogeneity is addressed in this study by estimating the effects of QOB on university attendance using a Taiwanese dataset on approximately one million siblings. Our estimations are mainly reliant upon the strength of the family fixed-effects model, a regression discontinuity design and a simulation procedure. Our results, in sharp contrast to the US findings, suggest that family background characteristics can explain very little of the relationship between QOB and the probability of university attendance at the age of 18. Th...
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us