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More Schooling, More Children? Compulsory Schooling and Fertility in Europe

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Document pages: 52 pages

Abstract: We study the relationship between education and fertility, exploiting compulsory schooling reforms in England and Continental Europe, implemented between 1936 and 1975. We assess the causal effect of education on the number of biological children and the incidence of childlessness. We find surprising results for Continental Europe: the additional education generated by compulsory schooling expansions led to an increase in the number of biological children per woman and a decrease in childlessness. The results for England point in the opposite direction. Moreover, for the Continent we find that education during this time led to fewer women who remained unmarried over their life course. Our findings are robust to a number of sensitivity and falsification checks.

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