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How Far Can Economic Incentives Explain the French Fertility and Education Transition?

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  • de la Croix, David
  • Perrin, Faustine

Abstract

We analyze how much a core rational-choice model can explain the temporal and spatial variation in fertility and school enrollment in France during the 19th century. The originality of our approach is in our reliance on the structural estimation of a system of first-order conditions to identify the deep parameters. Another new dimension is our use of gendered education data, allowing us to have a richer theory having implications for the gender wage and education gaps. Results indicate that the parsimonious rational-choice model explains 38 percent of the variation of fertility over time and across counties, as well as 71 percent and 83 percent of school enrollment of boys and girls, respectively. The analysis of the residuals (unexplained by the economic model) indicates that additional insights might be gained by interacting incentives with cross-county differences in family structure and cultural barriers.

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  • de la Croix, David & Perrin, Faustine, 2017. "How Far Can Economic Incentives Explain the French Fertility and Education Transition?," CEPR Discussion Papers 12531, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12531
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    Cited by:

    1. Vincent Bignon & Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa, 2018. "The Toll of Tariffs: Protectionism, Education and Fertility in Late 19th Century France," Working papers 690, Banque de France.
    2. Chabé-Ferret, Bastien, 2019. "Adherence to cultural norms and economic incentives: Evidence from fertility timing decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 24-48.
    3. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Delventhal, Matthew J. & Guner, Nezih, 2021. "Demographic Transitions Across Time and Space," CEPR Discussion Papers 16708, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Faustine Perrin, 2022. "On the origins of the demographic transition: rethinking the European marriage pattern," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 16(3), pages 431-475, September.
    5. Franck, Raphaël, 2022. "Labor Scarcity, Technology Adoption and Innovation: Evidence from the Cholera Pandemics in 19th Century France," CEPR Discussion Papers 16928, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. 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.
    7. Lehmann-Hasemeyer, Sibylle & Prettner, Klaus & Tscheuschner, Paul, 2023. "The scientific revolution and its implications for long-run economic development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 168(C).
    8. Claude Diebolt & Tapas Mishra & Faustine Perrin, 2019. "Gender Equality as an Enforcer of Individuals’ Choice between Education and Fertility: Evidence from 19th Century France," Working Papers 12-19, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
    9. Battaglia, Marianna & Chabé-Ferret, Bastien & Lebedinski, Lara, 2021. "Segregation, fertility, and son preference: the case of the Roma in Serbia," Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(2), pages 233-260, June.
    10. Pauline Rossi & Yun Xiao, 2024. "Spillovers in Childbearing Decisions and Fertility Transitions: Evidence from China," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 161-199.
    11. Adrian Palacios-Mateo, 2023. "Education and household decision-making in Spanish mining communities, 1877–1924," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 17(2), pages 301-340, May.
    12. Guillaume Blanc, 2023. "​The Cultural Origins of the Demographic Transition in France," Working Papers hal-02318180, HAL.
    13. Gutmann, Jerg & Voigt, Stefan, 2020. "Family Types and Political Development," ILE Working Paper Series 34, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    14. Ciccarelli, Carlo & Fenske, James & Martí Henneberg, Jordi, 2023. "Railways and the European Fertility Transition," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1477, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    15. Blanc, Guillaume & Wacziarg, Romain, 2020. "Change and persistence in the Age of Modernization: Saint-Germain-d’Anxure, 1730–1895," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    16. Guillaume Blanc, 2023. "The Cultural Origins of the Demographic Transition in France," Economics Discussion Paper Series 2309, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    17. Jianchoun Dou, 2021. "Variety, Fertility, and Long-term Economic Growth," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2021020, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    18. David Paton & Stephen Bullivant & Juan Soto, 2020. "The impact of sex education mandates on teenage pregnancy: International evidence," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(7), pages 790-807, July.
    19. Youssouf Merouani & Faustine Perrin, 2022. "Gender and the long-run development process. A survey of the literature [Rethinking age heaping: A cautionary tale from nineteenth-century Italy]," European Review of Economic History, European Historical Economics Society, vol. 26(4), pages 612-641.
    20. Morgan Kelly, 2021. "Devotion or Deprivation: Did Catholicism Retard French Development?," Working Papers 202115, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    21. Arnaud Deseau, 2023. "Land Reform and Productivity: Evidence from the Dissolution of the French Monasteries," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2023009, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    22. Diebolt, Claude & Mishra, Tapas & Perrin, Faustine, 2021. "Gender empowerment as an enforcer of individuals’ choice between education and fertility: Evidence from 19th century France," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 408-438.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Quality-quantity tradeoff; Education; Gender gap; Demographic transition; France; Family macroeconomics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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