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Does Parental Education Affect Fertility? Evidence from Pre-Demographic Transition Prussia

  • Becker, Sascha O; Cinnirella, Francesco; Woessmann, Ludger

    (University of Warwick, University of Munich)

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 parental 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 exogenous variation in women's education driven by differences in landownership inequality, suggest that the effect of women's education on fertility is casual.

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Paper provided by Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) in its series CAGE Online Working Paper Series with number 41.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:41
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  1. Paola Giuliano, 2012. "On The Origins Of Gender Roles: Women And The Plough," 2012 Meeting Papers 1186, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. John C. Brown & Timothy W. Guinnane, 2007. "Regions and time in the European fertility transition: problems in the Princeton Project's statistical methodology -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(3), pages 574-595, 08.
  3. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2010. "The Historical Fertility Transition: A Guide for Economists," Working Papers 990, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  4. Oded_Galor, 2004. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," Working Papers 2004-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  6. Dribe, Martin, 2009. "Demand and supply factors in the fertility transition: a county-level analysis of age-specific marital fertility in Sweden, 1880–1930," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 65-94, April.
  7. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
  8. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2005. "Land Inequality and the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions," Development and Comp Systems 0502018, EconWPA.
  9. Leibenstein, Harvey, 1975. "The Economic Theory of Fertility Decline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 1-31, February.
  10. Victor Lavy & Alexander Zablotsky, 2011. "Mother's Schooling and Fertility under Low Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 16856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Weisdorf, Jacob Louis, 2010. "Product variety and the demographic transition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 74-76, April.
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