YINS Seminar Archives: Emma Xiaolu Zang

YINS Seminar Archives: Emma Xiaolu Zang

Talk Summary: 

“Sibling Spillovers: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment”

Speaker: Emma Xiaolu Zang, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, Yale University

This paper examines the causal effect of sibling spillovers on children’s educational outcomes, focusing on how sibling spillover effects interact with household characteristics and children’s developmental stages. The casualty is achieved by using a novel approach based on discontinuities in school starting age created by North Carolina school entry laws. The laws assign the cutoff date by which individuals in a birth cohort must be born in order to attend kindergarten and each subsequent grade in the year they turn five. Children born shortly after the cutoff date have substantially higher test scores than those born shortly before the date, despite sharing similar parental socioeconomic profiles. Using an anonymized dataset which links birth certificate data to school administrative records, we estimate the impact of older siblings’ school performance on younger siblings’ test scores, at elementary and middle school levels for advantaged and disadvantaged families.

Emma Zang

Emma Zang is an Assistant Professor of Sociology. She received her PhD in Public Policy in 2019 and MA in Economics in 2017, both from Duke University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of health and aging, marriage and family, and inequality. Her work aims to improve the understanding of 1) how early-life conditions affect later-life health outcomes; 2) the cohort patterns of fertility and mortality; 3) the impact of public policies on household members’ health outcomes; 4) social stratification and health. Emma Zang is also a quantitative methodologist. She is particularly interested in developing and evaluating methods to model trajectories and life transitions in order to better understand how demographic and socioeconomic inequalities shape the health and well-being of individuals from life course perspectives. Her ongoing work explores 1) Bayesian approaches to modeling group-based trajectories, incorporating Bayesian Model Averaging techniques; 2) Bayesian approaches to making multi-state life tables using high-dimensional survey data; 3) evaluations of Age-Period-Cohort (APC) models. Her work has appeared in journals such as the American Journal of Sociology, Demography, Social Science & Medicine, and International Journal of Epidemiology.