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French Fertility and Education Transition: Rational Choice vs. Cultural Diffusion

David de la Croix () and Faustine Perrin ()
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Faustine Perrin: Department of Economic History, Lund University

No 2016007, Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) from Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)

Abstract: We analyze how much a rational-choice model can explain the temporal and spatial variation in fertility and school enrollment in France during the 19th century. The originality of our approach is in our reliance on a structural estimation technique that exploits the restrictions implied by the first-order conditions to identify the deep parameters. Another new dimension is our use of gendered education data, allowing us to have a richer theory that includes mothers, fathers, boys and girls. Results indicate that the rational-choice model explains 38 percent of the variation of fertility over time and across counties, as well as 71 percent and 83 percent of school enrollment of boys and girls, respectively. The analysis of the residuals (unexplained by the economic model) indicates that additional insights might be gained by considering cross-county differences in family structure and cultural barriers.

Keywords: Quality-quantity tradeoff; Education; Gender Gap; Demographic transition; France (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 N33 O11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-gro and nep-his
Date: 2016-03-03
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Working Paper: French Fertility and Education Transition: Rational Choice vs. Cultural Diffusion (2017) Downloads
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