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The effect of the business cycle at college graduation on fertility

Barbara Hofmann and Katrin Hohmeyer

Economics of Education Review, 2016, vol. 55, issue C, 88-102

Abstract: Many studies show that fertility decreases as economic conditions worsen. Evidence on socio-economic subgroups is sparse. We investigate whether a downturn at college graduation affects subsequent fertility. Using data from the German National Educational Panel Study covering a more than 40-years observation period, we find that a recession at graduation affects female but not male fertility timing. A downturn at graduation increases the transition rate to first pregnancy among female graduates significantly. This effect is driven by females older than 24 years at graduation and is strongest in the first years after graduation and then decreases over time. We also find a downturn to decrease the probability of holding a degree-adequate job in the first years after graduation. These findings suggest that female graduates take advantage of decreased opportunity costs in a recession. We do not find an effect of a downturn at graduation on completed fertility.

Keywords: Business cycle; College graduates; Fertility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 J2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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