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The Impact of Education on Family Formation: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the UK

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  • Michael Geruso
  • Heather Royer

Abstract

We examine the impact of educational attainment on fertility and mating market outcomes. Using a regression discontinuity design, we exploit an extension of the compulsory schooling age from 15 to 16 in 1972 in the UK. The change was binding for a quarter of the population. Simple plots of the raw data show substantially lower teen fertility rates across the threshold of the reform, but no impacts on abortions and no impact on completed fertility by age 45. In the mating market, the reform induced both men and women to marry more educated mates, consistent with positive assortative mating. We show that timing of the teen fertility reduction coincided with the timing of the extra induced schooling and that the probability of marrying a peer in the same academic cohort rose. These results suggest that school attendance may have important direct effects, in addition to and separate from the human capital effects of education.

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  • Michael Geruso & Heather Royer, 2018. "The Impact of Education on Family Formation: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the UK," NBER Working Papers 24332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24332
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    Cited by:

    1. Chicoine,Luke, 2020. "Free Primary Education, Fertility, and Women's Access to the Labor Market : Evidence from Ethiopia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9105, The World Bank.
    2. Cygan-Rehm, Kamila & Mäder, Miriam, 2012. "The Effect of Education on Fertility: Evidence from a Compulsory Schooling Reform," VfS Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62037, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Hamad, Rita & Elser, Holly & Tran, Duy C. & Rehkopf, David H. & Goodman, Steven N., 2018. "How and why studies disagree about the effects of education on health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies of compulsory schooling laws," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 212(C), pages 168-178.
    4. Kamhöfer, Daniel & Westphal, Matthias, 2018. "Fertility Effects of College Education: Evidence from the German Educational Expansion," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181624, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Anderberg, Dan & Bagger, Jesper & Bhaskar, V. & Wilson, Tanya, 2019. "Marriage Market Equilibrium, Qualifications, and Ability," IZA Discussion Papers 12210, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Schaffner, Sandra & Siebert-Meyerhoff, Andrea, 2017. "The effect of schooling age on fertility," Ruhr Economic Papers 741, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    7. Kamila Cygan-Rehm & Miriam Maeder, 2012. "The Effect of Education on Fertility: Evidence from a Compulsory Schooling Reform," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 528, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. DeCicca, Philip & Krashinsky, Harry, 2020. "Does education reduce teen fertility? Evidence from compulsory schooling laws," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    9. Salome Maseki & Hisahiro Naito, 2019. "Does Education Reduce Fertility in a Low Income Country ? Evidence based on Fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design in Tanzania," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2019-001, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
    10. Richard Akresh & Daniel Halim & Marieke Kleemans, 2018. "Long-term and Intergenerational Effects of Education: Evidence from School Construction in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 25265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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