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Education and Fertility: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Karin Monstad, Carol Propper and Kjell G Salvanes ()

No 6816, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: In many developed countries a decline in fertility has occurred. This development has been attributed to greater education of women. However, establishing a causal link is difficult as both fertility and education have changed secularly. The contribution of this paper is to study the connection between fertility and education over a woman’s fertile period focusing on whether the relationship is causal. We study fertility in Norway and use an educational reform as an instrument to correct for selection into education. Our results indicate that increasing education leads to postponement of first births away from teenage motherhood towards having the first birth in their twenties and, for a smaller group, up to the age of 35-40. We do not find, however, evidence that total fertility falls as a result of greater education.

Keywords: causal effect; education; female fertility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I20 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-hap, nep-lab and nep-ltv
Date: 2008-05
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