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

  • Sascha O. Becker
  • Francesco Cinnirella
  • Ludger Woessmann

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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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal European Review of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 17 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 24-44

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ereveh:v:17:y:2013:i:1:p:24-44
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