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The Effect of Education on Fertility: Evidence from a Compulsory Schooling Reform

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  • Kamila Cygan-Rehm
  • Miriam Maeder

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of education on fertility under inflexible labor market conditions. We exploit exogenous variation from a German compulsory schooling reform to deal with the endogeneity of education. By using data from two complementary data sets, we examine different fertility outcomes over the life cycle. In contrast to evidence for other developed countries, we find that increased education causally reduces completed fertility. This negative effect operates through a postponement of first births away from teenage years, and no catch-up later in life. We attribute these findings to the particularly high opportunity costs of child-rearing in Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Kamila Cygan-Rehm & Miriam Maeder, 2012. "The Effect of Education on Fertility: Evidence from a Compulsory Schooling Reform," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 528, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp528
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fertility; education; childlessness; timing of births; educational reform;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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