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