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The Effect of Investment in Children's Education on Fertility in 1816 Prussia

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  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Francesco Cinnirella

    ()

  • Ludger Woessmann

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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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3252.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3252

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Keywords: education; fertility; quantity-quality trade-off; unified growth theory; 19th century; Prussia;

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References

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  1. Tommy Bengtsson & Martin Dribe, 2006. "Deliberate control in a natural fertility population: Southern Sweden, 1766–1864," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 727-746, November.
  2. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Human Capital, Mortality and Fertility: A Unified Theory of the Economic and Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6384, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Sascha O. Becker & Erik Hornung & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Education and Catch-Up in the Industrial Revolution," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 92-126, July.
  4. Galor, Oded, 2004. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4714, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 1999. "From Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 150-154, May.
  7. Becker, Sascha & Woessmann, Ludger, 2010. "The Effect of Protestantism on Education before the Industrialization: Evidence from 1816 Prussia," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers, University of Stirling, Division of Economics 2010-01, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  8. Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  9. Becker, Sascha & Francesco, Cinirella & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers, University of Stirling, Division of Economics 2009-17, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  10. Jack A. Goldstone, 2007. "Jack Goldstone on Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 8(3), pages 207-225, July.
  11. Galor, Oded, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 4581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Does Parental Education Affect Fertility? Evidence from Pre-Demographic Transition Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 3430, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2005. "Natural Selection and the Evolution of Life Expectancy," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5373, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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, Economic History Society, vol. 60(3), pages 574-595, 08.
  15. 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.
  16. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
  17. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in 19th Century Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 2414, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. Crafts, Nicholas, 1988. "Duration of Marriage, Fertility and Female Employment Opportunities in England and Wales in 1911," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 252, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
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    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press, Princeton University Press.
  20. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
  21. 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.
  22. Matthias Doepke, 2002. "Child Mortality and Fertility Decline: Does the Barro-Becker Model Fit the Facts?," UCLA Economics Working Papers, UCLA Department of Economics 824, UCLA Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2013. "Landownership Concentration and the Expansion of Education," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 9730, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik & Woessmann, Ludger, 2012. "iPEHD – The ifo Prussian Economic History Database," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 9128, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Oded Galor, 2011. "Inequality, Human Capital Formation and the Process of Development," Working Papers 2011-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Faustine Perrin, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory: An Insight," Historical Social Research (Section 'Cliometrics'), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 36(3), pages 362-372.
  6. Claude Diebolt & Faustine Perrin, 2014. "Growth Theories," Working Papers, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) 02-14, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
  7. Manoel Bittencourt, 2014. "Education and Fertility: Panel Time-Series Evidence from Southern Africa," Working Papers 201402, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  8. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Wößmann, Ludger, 2013. "Does womens education affect fertility? Evidence from pre-demographic transition Prussia," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 20263, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Alberto Basso & David Cuberes, 2013. "Fertility and Financial Development: Evidence from U.S. Counties in the 19th Century," Working Papers, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics 2013011, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
  10. Charlotte Le Chapelain, 2013. "Cliométrie et Capital humain," Working Papers, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) 01-13, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
  11. 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.

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