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Education and fertility: an investigation into Italian families

  • Luigi Aldieri
  • Concetto Paolo Vinci

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze the correlation between the educational level and the number of children in Italy, where a very low fertility rate may be observed. Design/methodology/approach – Since the number of children ever born is a count variable, Poisson regression is the suitable statistical procedure used to conduct the empirical analysis. First, the authors estimate the correlation between the female's education and her number of children, and then the authors use also partner's education to take into account the family dimension. Furthermore, in the context of fertility, zero observations might be due either to the choice not to have children, or to the impossibility of becoming a mother. For this reason, the authors adopt also a more appropriate tool, that is a zero-inflated Poisson regression. Findings – From the empirical results, a significant negative correlation may be observed between the level of education and the number of children. Originality/value – There are other studies in the literature focusing on the correlation between female participation rate and her fertility rate in the Italian case. In those frameworks, the education variable is usually considered as a control variable. The paper's contribution to the literature is twofold: on one hand the authors develop a theoretical model giving an intuition reason of mechanism underlying the fertility behaviour of families; on the other hand, the authors implement more appropriate empirical models to test for this hypothesis, taking education as the main variable.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Social Economics.

Volume (Year): 39 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (March)
Pages: 254-236

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:39:y:2012:i:4:p:254-236
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Murat G. Kýrdar & Meltem Dayýoglu Tayfur & Ýsmet Koç, 2010. "The Effect of Compulsory Schooling Laws on Teenage Marriage and Births in Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1035, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  2. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2006. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," NBER Working Papers 12329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kimura, Masako & Yasui, Daishin, 2007. "Occupational choice, educational attainment, and fertility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 228-234, February.
  4. Karin Monstad & Carol Propper & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2008. "Education and Fertility: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 827-852, December.
  5. Luigi Aldieri & Adriana Barone & Concetto Paolo Vinci, 2006. "Human capital and fertility decisions in Italy: a microeconometric analysis of ECHP data," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 49(4), pages 281-292.
  6. Osili, Una Okonkwo & Long, Bridget Terry, 2008. "Does female schooling reduce fertility? Evidence from Nigeria," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 57-75, August.
  7. Aldieri, Luigi & Vinci, Concetto Paolo, 2010. "An investigation of the relation between the number of children and education in Italy," MPRA Paper 28534, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Winkelmann, Rainer & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1995. " Recent Developments in Count Data Modelling: Theory and Application," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, March.
  9. Lucia Breierova & Esther Duflo, 2004. "The Impact of Education on Fertility and Child Mortality: Do Fathers Really Matter Less Than Mothers?," NBER Working Papers 10513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Luigi ALDIERI & Adriana BARONE & Concetto Paolo VINCI, 2010. "Education and Second Birth Risks in Italy," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 118(4), pages 417-432.
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