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Does womens education affect fertility? Evidence from pre-demographic transition Prussia

  • Becker, Sascha O.
  • Cinnirella, Francesco
  • Wößmann, Ludger

While womens employment opportunities, relative wages, and the childquantityquality trade-off have been studied as factors underlyinghistorical fertility limitation, the role of womens education hasreceived little attention. We combine Prussian county data from threecensusesu1816, 1849, and 1867uto estimate the relationship betweenwomens education and their fertility before the demographic transition.Despite controlling for several demand and supply factors, we find anegative residual effect of womens education on fertility.Instrumental-variable estimates using educational variation derivingfrom landownership concentration, as well as panel estimates controllingfor fixed effects of counties, suggest that the effect of womenseducation on fertility is causal.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20263.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Publication status: Published in European Review of Economic History 1 17(2013): pp. 24-44
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20263
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  1. Galor, Oded, 2004. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 4714, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Cinnirella, Francesco & Hornung, Erik, 2016. "Landownership concentration and the expansion of education," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 135-152.
  3. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2005. "Human capital formation, life expectancy, and the process of development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20083, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Oded Galor & Omar Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2006. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_001, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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  6. Matthias Doepke, 2002. "Child Mortality and Fertility Decline: Does the Barro-Becker Model Fit the Facts?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 824, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2012. "The effect of investment in children’s education on fertility in 1816 Prussia," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(1), pages 29-44, January.
  8. Ricardo Andrés Guzmán & Jacob Weisdorf, 2009. "Product Variety and the Demographic Transition," Discussion Papers 09-25, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  9. Ogilvie, Sheilagh, 2010. "Consumption, Social Capital, and the “Industrious Revolution” in Early Modern Germany," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(02), pages 287-325, June.
  10. Hans-Joachim Voth & Nico Voigtländer, 2010. "How the West 'Invented' Fertility Restriction," Working Papers 525, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  11. Tommy Bengtsson & Martin Dribe, 2006. "Deliberate control in a natural fertility population: Southern Sweden, 1766–1864," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(4), pages 727-746, November.
  12. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Wößmann, Ludger, 2010. "The trade-off between fertility and education: Evidence from before the demographic transition," Munich Reprints in Economics 20196, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Guinnane, Timothy W., 2010. "The Historical Fertility Transition: A Guide for Economists," Working Papers 84, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  14. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S143-62, August.
  15. Galor, Oded, 2012. "The Demographic Transition: Causes and Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 6334, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Foreman-Peck, James, 2011. "The Western European marriage pattern and economic development," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 292-309, April.
  17. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  18. Dribe, Martin, 2009. "Demand and supply factors in the fertility transition: a county-level analysis of age-specific marital fertility in Sweden, 1880–1930," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 65-94, April.
  19. John Knodel, 1979. "From natural fertility to family limitation: The onset of fertility transition in a sample of German villages," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 16(4), pages 493-521, November.
  20. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "Does Parental Education Affect Fertility? Evidence from Pre-Demographic Transition Prussia," CEPR Discussion Papers 8339, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Schultz, T Paul, 1985. "Changing World Prices, Women's Wages, and the Fertility Transition: Sweden, 1860-1910," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1126-54, December.
  22. Harvey Leibenstein, 1975. "The Economic Theory of Fertility Decline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 89(1), pages 1-31.
  23. Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  24. John C. Brown & Timothy W. Guinnane, 2007. "Regions and time in the European fertility transition: problems in the Princeton Project's statistical methodology -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(3), pages 574-595, 08.
  25. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  26. Francesco Cinnirella & Marc P. B. Klemp & Jacob L. Weisdorf, 2012. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as a Preventive Check Mechanism in Pre-Modern England," CESifo Working Paper Series 3936, CESifo Group Munich.
  27. Wanamaker, Marianne H., 2012. "Industrialization and Fertility in the Nineteenth Century: Evidence from South Carolina," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(01), pages 168-196, March.
  28. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
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