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Gender Empowerment as an Enforcer of Individuals Choice between Education and Fertility: Evidence from 19th Century France

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Document pages: 58 pages

Abstract: Recent theoretical developments in growth models, triggered particularly by unified theories of growth, suggest that the child quantity-quality trade-off is a defining element in our explanation of a transition from Malthusian stagnation to a sustained growth path. This paper presents a model and derive a testable empirical framework to investigate the role of gender on the trade-off between education and fertility for 86 French counties during the 19th century. Endogeneity-mitigated mean- and median-based regressions offer robust empirical predictions for gender-empowered quality-quantity trade-off. In particular, we find the existence of a significant and negative association between education and fertility. Further, while gauging the effect of schooling on fertility, the short-run differences between male and female appear to be small whilst the long-run effects are large. From a policy perspective, our results imply that it matters not just that parents educate their children, but specifically that they choose to educate girls.

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