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The effect of investment in children’s education on fertility in 1816 Prussia

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  • Sascha O. Becker

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL UK. Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Poschingerstr. 5, 81679 Munich, Germany.)

  • Francesco Cinnirella

    ()
    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Poschingerstr. 5, 81679 Munich, Germany. Department of Economics, University of Munich, Munich, Germany)

  • Ludger Woessmann

    ()
    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Poschingerstr. 5, 81679 Munich, Germany. Department of Economics, University of Munich, Munich, Germany)

Abstract

The interaction between investment in children’s education and parental fertility is crucial in recent theories of the transition from Malthusian stagnation to modern economic growth. This paper contributes to the literature on the child quantity–quality trade-off with new county-level evidence for Prussia in 1816, several decades before the demographic transition. We find a significant negative causal effect of education on fertility, which is robust to accounting for spatial autocorrelation. The causal effect of education is identified through exogenous variation in enrollment rates due to differences in landownership inequality. A comparison with estimates for 1849 suggests that the preference for quality relative to quantity might have increased during the first half of the nineteenth century.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its journal Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History.

Volume (Year): 6 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 29-44

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Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:6:y:2012:i:1:p:29-44

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Web page: http://www.cliometrie.org
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Keywords: Education; Fertility; Quantity–quality trade-off; Unified growth theory; 19th century; Prussia;

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  1. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 4557, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Oded Galor, 2004. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409005, EconWPA.
  3. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
  4. Becker, Sascha O. & Hornung, Erik & Wößmann, Ludger, 2011. "Education and catch-up in the industrial revolution," Munich Reprints in Economics 20261, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," CESifo Working Paper Series 1987, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Matthias Doepke, 2002. "Child Mortality and Fertility Decline: Does the Barro-Becker Model Fit the Facts?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 824, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Becker, Sascha O. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2008. "Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in 19th Century Prussia," IZA Discussion Papers 3837, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
  9. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The Effect of Protestantism on Education before the Industrialization: Evidence from 1816 Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 2910, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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  12. Oded_Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "Natural Selection and the Evolution of Life Expectancy," Working Papers 2004-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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  14. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6751, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293 Elsevier.
  16. Tommy Bengtsson & Martin Dribe, 2006. "Deliberate control in a natural fertility population: Southern Sweden, 1766–1864," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 727-746, November.
  17. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "Does Parental Education Affect Fertility? Evidence from Pre-Demographic Transition Prussia," CEPR Discussion Papers 8339, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Hoyt Bleakley & Fabian Lange, 2009. "Chronic Disease Burden and the Interaction of Education, Fertility, and Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 52-65, February.
  19. Crafts, Nicholas, 1988. "Duration of Marriage, Fertility and Female Employment Opportunities in England and Wales in 1911," CEPR Discussion Papers 252, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  22. John C. Brown & Timothy W. Guinnane, 2007. "Regions and time in the European fertility transition: problems in the Princeton Project's statistical methodology -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(3), pages 574-595, 08.
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Cited by:
  1. Manoel Bittencourt, 2014. "Primary Education and Fertility Rates in Southern Africa: Evidence from Before the Demographic Transition," Working Papers 201404, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  2. Becker, Sascha & Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Eric & Woessmann, Ludger, 2012. "iPEHD - The ifo Prussian Economic History Database," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 96, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  3. Manoel Bittencourt, 2014. "Education and Fertility: Panel Time-Series Evidence from Southern Africa," Working Papers 201402, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  4. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2013. "Landownership Concentration and the Expansion of Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 9730, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Ludger Wößmann, 2011. "Die Bedeutung von Bildung für die Wirtschaftsentwicklung: Eine neue wirtschaftshistorische Forschungsagenda anhand preußischer Kreisdaten, Teil 2," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 64(01), pages 41-47, 01.
  6. Faustine Perrin, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory: An Insight," Historical Social Research (Section 'Cliometrics'), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 36(3), pages 362-372.
  7. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Wößmann, Ludger, 2013. "Does womens education affect fertility? Evidence from pre-demographic transition Prussia," Munich Reprints in Economics 20263, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Charlotte Le Chapelain, 2013. "Cliométrie et Capital humain," Working Papers 01-13, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
  9. Oded Galor, 2011. "Inequality, Human Capital Formation and the Process of Development," Working Papers 2011-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  10. Alberto Basso & David Cuberes, 2013. "Fertility and Financial Development: Evidence from U.S. Counties in the 19th Century," Working Papers 2013011, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
  11. Claude Diebolt & Faustine Perrin, 2014. "Growth Theories," Working Papers 02-14, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).

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