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Changing relationships between education and fertility – a study of women and men born 1940-64

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Author Info

  • Kravdal, Øystein

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Rindfuss, Ronald R.

    ()
    (Department of Sociology)

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    Abstract

    Surprisingly, relatively little is known about the relationship between education and completed fertility in low fertility countries and especially the trend in this relationship over time. An inverse relationship is expected, but the topic has been left largely unexplored for at least a generation, and for men the topic is almost completely unexplored empirically. In this paper, we use data from the population registers covering all Norwegians born 1940-64. Among women, the relationship between completed fertility and the educational level attained at age 39 has become substantially less negative. In all the cohorts, better educated women have more often remained childless than the less educated, and they have had later first births, which also contributes to lower subsequent fertility. However, the negative effect of education on higher-order birth rates net of this impact of later motherhood has disappeared in the younger cohorts. Family-friendly policies and ideologies, leading, for example, to better access to high-quality day care, are likely the main engine behind this shift. Among men, a positive relationship has emerged. The better educated become fathers later than others, but fewer remain childless, and there has been an increasingly stimulating effect of education on second- and third-birth rates. We discuss these sex differences in the light of the persistent differences between mother and father roles.

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    File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2007/Memo-11-2007.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 11/2007.

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    Length: 52 pages
    Date of creation: 01 Jul 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2007_011

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
    Phone: 22 85 51 27
    Fax: 22 85 50 35
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    Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
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    Related research

    Keywords: Education; fertililty; gender;

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    References

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    1. Jan M. Hoem & Alexia Prskawetz & Gerda R. Neyer, 2001. "Autonomy or conservative adjustment? The effect of public policies and educational attainment on third births in Austria," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-016, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Vegard Skirbekk & Hans-Peter Kohler & Alexia Prskawetz, 2004. "Birth month, school graduation, and the timing of births and marriages," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 547-568, August.
    3. S. Philip Morgan & Ronald Rindfuss, 1999. "Reexamining the link of early childbearing to Marriage and to subsequent fertillty," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 59-75, February.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1976. "Child Endowments, and the Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Working Papers 0123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ermisch, John F, 1989. "Purchased Child Care, Optimal Family Size and Mother's Employment: Theory and Econometric Analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 79-102.
    6. Margaret Marini & Peter Hodsdon, 1981. "Effects of the timing of marriage and first birth of the spacing of subsequent births," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 529-548, November.
    7. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
    8. Øystein Kravdal, 2002. "Is the Previously Reported Increase in Second- and Higher-order Birth Rates in Norway and Sweden from the mid-1970s Real or a Result of Inadequate Estimation Methods?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(9), pages 241-262, March.
    9. Martin Dribe & Maria Stanfors, 2009. "Education, Work and Parenthood: Comparing the Experience of Young Men and Women in Sweden," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 32-42, March.
    10. Arendt, Jacob Nielsen, 2005. "Does education cause better health? A panel data analysis using school reforms for identification," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 149-160, April.
    11. Ann Sorenson, 1989. "Husbands’ and wives’ characteristics and fertility decisions: A diagonal mobility model," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 125-135, February.
    12. Óystein Kravdal, 1992. "Forgone labor participation and earning due to childbearing among Norwegian women," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 545-563, November.
    13. Warren Miller, 1992. "Personality traits and developmental experiences as antecedents of childbearing motivation," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 265-285, May.
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