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  • Istituto di Economia
  • Seminario

Can female education explain the fertility decline?

Data 08.11.2022 orario

Piazza Martiri della Libertà, 33 , 56127 PI Italia

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The Institute of Economics will hold a seminar meeting as part of its Seminar Series on Tuesday, November 8, 2022: Juliana Jaramillo from the London School of Economics will give a talk on  " Can female education explain the fertility decline?".



Across the world educated women tend to have fewer children than their less-educated peers. This chapter provides new stylised facts about the long-run relationship between women's education and fertility at the national, sub-national, and individual level. I focus on the implementation of educational reforms in Colombia between 1930 and the late 1940s, during the so-called liberal period, and I use individual-level data from the complete census of 1973 and from a 10% sample of the censuses of 1985 and 1993 from IPUMS. The findings caution that the relationship between fertility and women's education is not always monotonic, and that this relationship changes significantly depending on the level of aggregation of the data. At the individual level, the relationship between education and fertility holds strongly and education increases the probability of remaining childless, reduces the total number of children and reduces the probability of having a birth at a younger age. Peer effects, such as the percentage of peers with secondary education, are ruled out, which means that the externalities of education had a moderate effect on uneducated women. On the other hand, at the national and sub-national level, the fertility decline cannot be explained by the direct effects of education as fertility fell continuously in all educational groups since 1965. This suggests that forces other than education were driving the decline. Although fertility declined continuously, the results also show that the fertility gap between uneducated women and women with secondary education changed little.

The seminar will be held in-person in Aula 10 (sede centrale) and will be also accessible remotely at the following link.