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Fertility and education in contemporary Northern and Southern Italy


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  • Gianpiero DALLA ZUANNA





Several studies suggest that over the last several decades in Italy, the negative effects of education on fertility have attenuated. Recent analyses developed in other countries, however, highlight that considerations of the relationship between education and fertility should take selection bias into account. With this mind, we developed multiprocess hazard models with four simultaneous equations (one for each birth order) which include an unobserved heterogeneity component at the individual level. We then applied these models to a large sample obtained by merging and rearranging data from the annual ISTAT Multipurpose surveys (1993-2002) entitled “Aspects of daily life”. The positive effect of education on second and third birth order observed in a descriptive analysis and in models with independent equations is revealed to be due simply to a spurious relation. Net of selectivity, a negative relation between education and fertility emerges for second and third birth order. However, the persistence of this “traditional” link between education and fertility in Italy is stronger in the country’s southern, less developed regions, indicating that this negative association may weaken in the future (This paper is a revised version of the Departemental W. P. "Bassa fecondità e istruzione nell’Italia di fine Novecento", created on April 9th 2008).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2008-09.

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Date of creation: 09 Apr 2008
Date of revision: 06 Dec 2010
Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2008-09

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Keywords: Fertility; education; hazard models; selection; unobserved heterogeneity.;

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