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Education and childlessness

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  • Jan M. Hoem

    (Stockholm University)

  • Gerda Neyer

    (Stockholm University)

  • Gunnar Andersson

    (Stockholm University)

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    Abstract

    In this paper we extend the concept of educational attainment to cover the field of education taken in addition to the conventional level of education attained. Our empirical investigation uses register records containing childbearing and educational histories of an entire cohort of women born in Sweden (about a quarter-million individuals). This allows us to operate with a high number of educational field-and-level combinations (some sixty in all). It turns out that the field of education serves as an indicator of a woman’s potential reproductive behavior better than the mere level attained. We discover that in each field permanent childlessness increases some with the educational level, but that the field itself is the more important. In general, we find that women educated for jobs in teaching and health care are in a class of their own, with much lower permanent childlessness at each educational level than in any other major grouping. Women educated in arts and humanities or for religious occupations have unusually high fractions permanently childless. Our results cast doubt on the assumption that higher education per se must result in higher childlessness. In our opinion, several factors intrinsic and extrinsic to an educational system (such as its flexibility, its gender structure, and the manner in which education is hooked up to the labor market) may influence the relationship between education and childlessness, and we would not expect a simple, unidirectional relationship.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 15 (May)
    Pages: 331-380

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    Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:14:y:2006:i:15

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

    Related research

    Keywords: childlessness; education; fertility; Sweden;

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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Costas Meghir & Marten Palme, 2000. "Assessing the Effect of Schooling on Earnings Using a Social Experiment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers, Econometric Society 0670, Econometric Society.
    2. Preston, Anne E, 1994. "Why Have All the Women Gone? A Study of Exit of Women from the Science and Engineering Professions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1446-62, December.
    3. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
    4. Jan M. Hoem & Gerda Neyer & Gunnar Andersson, 2006. "Educational attainment and ultimate fertility among Swedish women born in 1955-59," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 14(16), pages 381-404, May.
    5. Øystein Kravdal, 2001. "The High Fertility of College Educated Women in Norway," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 5(6), pages 187-216, December.
    6. Siv Gustafsson, 2001. "Optimal age at motherhood. Theoretical and empirical considerations on postponement of maternity in Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 225-247.
    7. FFF1Johan NNN1Surkyn & FFF2Ron NNN2Lesthaeghe, 2004. "Value Orientations and the Second Demographic Transition (SDT) in Northern, Western and Southern Europe: An Update," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(3), pages 45-86, April.
    8. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2.
    9. Emer Smyth, 2002. "Gender Differentiation and Early Labour Market Integration across Europe," MZES Working Papers, MZES 46, MZES.
    10. Paula England, 1982. "The Failure of Human Capital Theory to Explain Occupational Sex Segregation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 358-370.
    11. Jan M. Hoem & Gerda R. Neyer & Gunnar Andersson, 2006. "Educational attainment and ultimate fertility among Swedish women born in 1955-59," MPIDR Working Papers, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany WP-2006-004, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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