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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. John Knodel, 1979. "From natural fertility to family limitation: The onset of fertility transition in a sample of German villages," Demography, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 493-521, November.
  2. Becker, Sascha O; Cinnirella, Francesco; Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "Does Parental Education Affect Fertility? Evidence from Pre-Demographic Transition Prussia," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 41, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
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  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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  12. 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, .
  13. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 4557, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
  15. Leibenstein, Harvey, 1975. "The Economic Theory of Fertility Decline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 1-31, February.
  16. 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.
  17. Francesco Cinnirella & Erik Hornung, 2011. "Landownership Concentration and the Expansion of Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 3603, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. Tommy Bengtsson & Martin Dribe, 2006. "Deliberate control in a natural fertility population: Southern Sweden, 1766–1864," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 727-746, November.
  19. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1976. "Child Endowments, and the Quantity and Quality of Children," NBER Working Papers 0123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Guinnane, Timothy W., 2010. "The Historical Fertility Transition: A Guide for Economists," Working Papers 84, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  21. Cinnirella, Francesco & Klemp, Marc P B & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2012. "Malthus in the Bedroom: Birth Spacing as a Preventive Check Mechanism in Pre-Modern England," CEPR Discussion Papers 9116, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Foreman-Peck, James, 2011. "The Western European marriage pattern and economic development," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 292-309, April.
  26. Moav, Omer, 2001. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 3059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Becker, Sascha O. & Cinnirella, Francesco & Wößmann, Ludger, 2012. "The effect of investment in children’s education on fertility in 1816 Prussia," Munich Reprints in Economics 20197, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  28. Matteo Cervellati & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Human Capital Formation, Life Expectancy, and the Process of Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1653-1672, December.
  29. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
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