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French Fertility and Education Transition: Rational Choice vs. Cultural Diffusion

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  • David de la Croix

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))

  • Faustine Perrin

    (Department of Economic History, Lund University)

Abstract

We analyze how much a 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 a structural estimation technique that exploits the restrictions implied by the 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 that includes mothers, fathers, boys and girls. Results indicate that the 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 considering cross-county differences in family structure and cultural barriers.

Suggested Citation

  • David de la Croix & Faustine Perrin, 2016. "French Fertility and Education Transition: Rational Choice vs. Cultural Diffusion," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2016007, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2016007
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    Cited by:

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    3. 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.
    4. Claude Diebolt & Faustine Perrin, 2016. "Le « paradoxe » démographico-économique," Revue d'économie financière, Association d'économie financière, vol. 0(2), pages 103-112.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Quality-quantity tradeoff; Education; Gender Gap; Demographic transition; France;
    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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