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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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  3. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2010. "The Effect of Investment in Children's Education on Fertility in 1816 Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 3252, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. 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.
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  6. Francesco Cinnirella & Erik Hornung, 2011. "Landownership Concentration and the Expansion of Education," Working Papers 0010, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  7. Becker, Sascha & Francesco, Cinirella & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2009-17, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Weisdorf, Jacob Louis, 2010. "Product variety and the demographic transition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 74-76, April.
  11. 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.
  12. Hans-Joachim Voth & Nico Voigtlaender, 2010. "How the West 'Invented' Fertility Restriction," 2010 Meeting Papers 326, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Galor, Oded, 2012. "The Demographic Transition: Causes and Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 6334, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. 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.
  15. Foreman-Peck, James, 2009. "The Western European Marriage Pattern and Economic Development," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2009/15, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer & Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Inequality in Land Ownership, the Emergence of Human Capital Promoting Institutions and the Great Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6751, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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, .
  23. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2011. "Does Parental Education Affect Fertility? Evidence from Pre-Demographic Transition Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 3430, CESifo Group Munich.
  24. Moav, Omer, 2001. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 3059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Oded Galor, 2004. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409005, EconWPA.
  26. 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.
  27. Harvey Leibenstein, 1975. "The Economic Theory of Fertility Decline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 89(1), pages 1-31.
  28. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
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