The effect of education on women's propensity to be childless in Spain: Does the field of education matter?
This article investigates the relationship between educational attainment, in terms of both level and field of education, and the probability of being childless in Spain. Findings demonstrate that there is a significant difference in childlessness by education level among women aged 34-50, while this significance disappears when the analysis is not confined to older women but includes all women (aged 18-50) and is controlled for heterogeneity. In this latter case, childlessness has more to do with later childbearing among young women than with the accumulation of human capital. However, women educated in those studies concerned with the care of individuals and/or emphasizing interpersonal skills have a lower probability of being childless than women in other fields of study, irrespective of their education level, in both samples. In addition, the results show that childlessness, departure from education and union formation are jointly determined. Young women who want to be childfree or end up being childless stay in school for a longer period of time and postpone their union formation, whilst those with strong family/fertility intentions accelerate the three processes. I use data from the Spanish Family and Fertility Survey (1995) and apply event history models that take into account unobserved heterogeneity.
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