Oktober 2011

IZA DP No. 6015: More Schooling, More Children: Compulsory Schooling Reforms and Fertility in Europe

substantially revised version published as 'Is Education Always Reducing Fertility? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Reforms' in: Economic Journal, 2016, 126 (595), 1823–1855

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.