Education and timing of births: evidence from a natural experiment in Italy
This paper assesses the causal effects of education on the timing of first births allowing for heterogeneity in the effects across individuals while controlling for self-selection of women into education. Identification relies on exogenous variation in schooling induced by a mandatory school reform rolled out nationwide in Italy in the early 1960s. Findings based on Census data (Italy, 1981) suggest that a large fraction of the women affected by the reform postpones the time of the first birth but catches up with this fertility delay before turning 26. There is some indication that the fertility return to schooling of these women is substantially different from the one of the average individual in the population.
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