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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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  13. 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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  17. Sascha O. Becker & Francesco Cinnirella & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "The Trade-off between Fertility and Education: Evidence from before the Demographic Transition," CESifo Working Paper Series 2775, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. Leibenstein, Harvey, 1975. "The Economic Theory of Fertility Decline," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 1-31, February.
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  20. 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.
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  22. 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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  24. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Ogilvie, S., 2009. "Consumption, Social Capital, and the ‘Industrious Revolution’ in Early Modern Germany," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0943, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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