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Education and Fertility: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

  • Karin Monstad
  • Carol Propper
  • Kjell G. Salvanes

Declining fertility is often attributed to the increased education of women. It is difficult to establish a causal link because both fertility and education have changed secularly. In this paper we study the connection between fertility and education using educational reform as an instrument to control for selection. Our results indicate that increasing education leads to postponement of first births away from teenage motherhood and towards women having their first birth in their 20s as well as, for a smaller group, up to the age of 35-40. We find no evidence, however, that more education results in more women remaining childless or having fewer children. Copyright � The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics" 2008 .

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 110 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 827-852

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:110:y:2008:i:4:p:827-852
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  1. 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.
  2. Hotz, V-J & Kerman, J-A & Willis, R-J, 1996. "The Economics of Fertility in Developed Countries : A Survey," Papers 96-09, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  3. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S14-64, Part II, .
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  5. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  6. Aakvik, Arild & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Vaage, Kjell, 2003. "Measuring Heterogeneity in the Returns to Education in Norway Using Educational Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 815, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2003. "Ability, parental background and educational policy: empirical evidence from a social experiment," IFS Working Papers W03/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Dave Turner & Claude Giorno & Alain de Serres & Ann Vourc'h & Pete Richardson, 1998. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Ageing in a Global Context," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 193, OECD Publishing.
  9. Schultz, T. Paul, 1993. "Demand for children in low income countries," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 349-430 Elsevier.
  10. Fort, Margherita, 2005. "Education and timing of births: evidence from a natural experiment in Italy," ISER Working Paper Series 2005-20, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  11. Marit Rønsen, 2004. "Fertility and Public Policies - Evidence from Norway and Finland," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 10(6), pages 143-170, May.
  12. Angrist, Joshua D & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014, November.
  13. SandraE. Black & PaulJ. Devereux & KjellG. Salvanes, 2008. "Staying in the Classroom and out of the maternity ward? The effect of compulsory schooling laws on teenage births," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 1025-1054, 07.
  14. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2011. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 158-95, February.
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