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The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition

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  • Becker, Sascha
  • Francesco, Cinirella
  • Woessmann, Ludger

Abstract

The trade-off between child quantity and education is a crucial ingredient of unified growth models that explain the transition from Malthusian stagnation to modern growth. We present first evidence that such a trade-off indeed existed before the demographic transition, exploiting a unique census-based dataset of 334 Prussian counties in 1849. Estimating two separate instrumental-variable models that instrument education by landownership inequality and distance to Wittenberg and fertility by previous-generation fertility and sex-imbalance ratio, we find that causation between fertility and education runs both ways. Furthermore, education in 1849 predicts the fertility transition in 1880-1905.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/1598
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Stirling Economics Discussion Papers with number 2009-17.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2009-17

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Postal: Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
Phone: +44 (0)1786 467473
Fax: +44 (0)1786 467469
Web page: http://www.econ.stir.ac.uk/
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Keywords: Schooling; fertility transition; unified growth theory; 19th-century P russia;

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