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Does Parental Education Affect Fertility? Evidence from Pre-Demographic Transition Prussia

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  • Becker, Sascha O.
  • Cinnirella, Francesco
  • Woessmann, Ludger

Abstract

While women's employment opportunities, relative wages, and the child quantity-quality trade-off have been studied as factors underlying historical fertility limitation, the role of parental education has received little attention. We combine Prussian county data from three censuses--1816, 1849, and 1867--to estimate the relationship between women’s education and their fertility before the demographic transition. Despite controlling for several demand and supply factors, we find a negative residual effect of women’s education on fertility. Instrumental-variable estimates, using exogenous variation in women's education driven by differences in landownership inequality, suggest that the effect of women’s education on fertility is causal.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8339.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8339

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Keywords: Demographic Transition; Female Education; Fertility; Nineteenth Century Prussia;

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  1. 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.
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  7. Oded_Galor, 2004. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," Working Papers 2004-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2010. "The Historical Fertility Transition: A Guide for Economists," Working Papers 990, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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  10. Leibenstein, Harvey, 1975. "The Economic Theory of Fertility Decline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 1-31, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2013. "Does women's education affect fertility? Evidence from pre-demographic transition Prussia," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 24-44, February.
  2. Ken-ichi Hashimoto & Ken Tabata, 2013. "Rising Longevity, Human Capital and Fertility in Overlapping Generations Version of an R&D-based Growth Model," Discussion Paper Series 104, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2013.
  3. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Wößmann, Ludger, 2012. "The effect of investment in children’s education on fertility in 1816 Prussia," Munich Reprints in Economics 20197, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. 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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