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The effect of female education on fertility: Evidence from China’s compulsory schooling reform

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  • Chen, Jiwei
  • Guo, Jiangying

Abstract

This paper examines the causal impact of women’s education on fertility by exploiting the cross-regional and cross-time variations in the enforcement of compulsory schooling reform in China. Using data from the 2010 Chinese Census, we find that increased women’s education permanently reduces fertility, which is different from the evidence in many countries where women compensate at later ages for the initial loss in births. We also find that increased education has a greater negative effect on the total live births of rural hukou women. When examining the potential channels underlying the relationship, we find that increased women’s education reduces child mortality, delays women entering the marriage market and childbirth, increases the opportunity costs of childrearing, and promotes positive assortative mating. Our research provides an additional explanation for the rapid decline in the total fertility rate in China.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Jiwei & Guo, Jiangying, 2022. "The effect of female education on fertility: Evidence from China’s compulsory schooling reform," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 88(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:88:y:2022:i:c:s0272775722000346
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2022.102257
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Education; Fertility; Childlessness; School reforms; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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