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Does women's education affect fertility? Evidence from pre-demographic transition Prussia

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  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Francesco Cinnirella
  • Ludger Woessmann

Abstract

While women's employment opportunities, relative wages, and the child quantity-quality trade-off have been studied as factors underlying historical fertility limitation, the role of women's education has received little attention. We combine Prussian county data from three censuses—1816, 1849, and 1867—to estimate the relationship between women's education and their fertility before the demographic transition. Despite controlling for several demand and supply factors, we find a negative residual effect of women's education on fertility. Instrumental-variable estimates using educational variation deriving from landownership concentration, as well as panel estimates controlling for fixed effects of counties, suggest that the effect of women's education on fertility is causal. Copyright , Oxford University Press.

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  • Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2013. "Does women's education affect fertility? Evidence from pre-demographic transition Prussia," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 24-44, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:17:y:2013:i:1:p:24-44
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    Cited by:

    1. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2016. "Landownership concentration and the expansion of education," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 135-152.
    2. Diebolt, Claude & Mishra, Tapas & Perrin, Faustine, 2015. "Did Gender-Bias Matter in the Quantity-Quality Trade-off in 19th Century France?," Lund Papers in Economic History 141, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    3. de la Croix, David & Perrin, Faustine, 2018. "How far can economic incentives explain the French fertility and education transition?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 221-245.
    4. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Erik Hornung & Ludger Woessmann, 2014. "iPEHD--The ifo Prussian Economic History Database," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 57-66, June.
    5. Fabian Siuda & Uwe Sunde, 2021. "Disease and demographic development: the legacy of the plague," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 1-30, March.
    6. Casper Worm Hansen & Peter Sandholt Jensen & Lars Lønstrup, 2014. "The Fertility Transition in the US: Schooling or Income?," Economics Working Papers 2014-02, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    7. Ruth Maria Schüler, 2018. "Bildungsökonomik aus historischer Perspektive," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 78, August.
    8. Manoel Bittencourt, 2014. "Primary Education and Fertility Rates in Southern Africa: Evidence from Before the Demographic Transition," Working Papers 432, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    9. Brian Beach & W. Walker Hanlon, 2019. "Censorship, Family Planning, and the Historical Fertility Transition," NBER Working Papers 25752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Klaus Deininger & Songqing Jin & Hari K. Nagarajan & Fang Xia, 2019. "Inheritance Law Reform, Empowerment, and Human Capital Accumulation: Second-Generation Effects from India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(12), pages 2549-2571, December.
    11. Manoel Bittencourt, 2014. "Education and Fertility: Panel Time-Series Evidence from Southern Africa," Working Papers 431, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    12. Charlotte Le Chapelain, 2013. "Cliométrie et Capital humain," Working Papers 01-13, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
    13. Manoel Bittencourt, 2018. "Primary education and fertility rates : Evidence from Southern Africa," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 26(2), pages 283-302, April.
    14. Beblo, Miriam & Görges, Luise, 2018. "On the nature of nurture. The malleability of gender differences in work preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 19-41.
    15. Muhammad Zakaria & Bashir Ahmed Fida & Saquib Yousaf Janjua & Syed Jawad Hussain Shahzad, 2017. "Fertility and Financial Development in South Asia," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 133(2), pages 645-668, September.

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