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The trade-off between fertility and education: evidence from before the demographic transition

  • Sascha Becker

    ()

  • Francesco Cinnirella
  • Ludger Woessmann

The trade-off between child quantity and quality 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 already in the nineteenth century, exploiting a unique census-based dataset of 334 Prussian counties in 1849. Furthermore, we find that causation between fertility and education runs both ways, based on separate instrumental-variable models that instrument fertility by sex ratios and education by landownership inequality and distance toWittenberg. Education in 1849 also predicts the fertility transition in 1880-1905.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10887-010-9054-x
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Economic Growth.

Volume (Year): 15 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 177-204

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:15:y:2010:i:3:p:177-204
DOI: 10.1007/s10887-010-9054-x
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