DP8609 More Schooling, More Children: Compulsory Schooling Reforms and Fertility in Europe

Author(s): Margherita Fort, Nicole Schneeweis, Rudolf Winter-Ebmer
Publication Date: October 2011
Keyword(s): education, fertility, instrumental variables
JEL(s): I2, J13
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8609

We study the relationship between education and fertility, exploiting compulsory schooling reforms in Europe as source of exogenous variation in education. Using data from 8 European countries, we assess the causal effect of education on the number of biological kids and the incidence of childlessness. We find that more education causes a substantial decrease in childlessness and an increase in the average number of children per woman. Our findings are robust to a number of falsification checks and we can provide complementary empirical evidence on the mechanisms leading to these surprising results.