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Childlessness and educational attainment among Swedish women born in 1955-59

  • Jan M. Hoem

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Gerda R. Neyer

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Gunnar Andersson

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

Registered author(s):

    In this paper, we extend the concept of educational attainment to cover the field of education attained in addition to the conventional level of education. Our empirical investigation uses register records containing childbearing and educational histories of an entire cohort of women born in Sweden (about a quarter-million individuals). This allows us to operate with a high number of educational field-and-level combinations (some sixty in all). It turns out that the field of education serves as an indicator of a woman’s potential reproductive behavior better than the mere level. We discover that in each field permanent childlessness increases (some) with the educational level attained, but that the field itself is the more important. In general, we find that women educated for jobs in teaching and health care are in a class of their own, with much lower permanent childlessness than in any other major grouping at each educational level. Women educated in arts and humanities or for religious occupations have unusually high fractions permanently childless. Our results cast doubt on the assumption that higher education per se must result in higher childlessness. In our opinion, several factors intrinsic and extrinsic to an educational system (such as its flexibility, its gender structure, and the manner in which education is hooked up to the labor market) may influence the relationship between education and childlessness, and we would not expect a simple, unidirectional relationship.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2005-014.pdf
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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/en/projects_publications/publications_1904/journal_articles/education_and_childlessness_the_relationship_between_educational_field_educational_level_and_2212.htm
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    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2005-014.

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    Length: 53 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2005-014
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    1. Meghir, Costas & Palme, Mårten, 1999. "Assessing the Effect of Schooling on Earnings Using a Social Experiment," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 313, Stockholm School of Economics.
    2. Paula England, 1982. "The Failure of Human Capital Theory to Explain Occupational Sex Segregation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 358-370.
    3. Marit Rønsen, 2004. "Fertility and family policy in Norway - A reflection on trends and possible connections," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 10(10), pages 265-286, June.
    4. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. FFF1Johan NNN1Surkyn & FFF2Ron NNN2Lesthaeghe, 2004. "Value Orientations and the Second Demographic Transition (SDT) in Northern, Western and Southern Europe: An Update," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(3), pages 45-86, April.
    6. Siv Gustafsson, 2001. "Optimal age at motherhood. Theoretical and empirical considerations on postponement of maternity in Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 225-247.
    7. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
    8. Emer Smyth, 2002. "Gender Differentiation and Early Labour Market Integration across Europe," MZES Working Papers 46, MZES.
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