The Effect of Education on Overall Fertility

Philip DeCicca, Harry Krashinsky

NBER Working Paper No. 23003
Issued in December 2016
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

Fertility rates have long been falling in many developed countries while educational attainment in these countries has risen. We attempt to reconcile these two trends with a novel application of a recent model to generate plausibly causal effects of education on these decreases in fertility. Specifically, we find that education “compresses” the fertility distribution – women are more likely to have at least one child, but less likely to have multiple children. We demonstrate that the mechanism for this effect is through the positive impact of education on earnings and marriage.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23003

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
de Quidt and Haushofer w22973 Depression for Economists
Chetty and Hendren w23001 The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility I: Childhood Exposure Effects
Saavedra, Naslund-Hadley, and Alfonso w23050 Targeted Remedial Education: Experimental Evidence from Peru
De Vlieger, Jacob, and Stange w22998 Measuring Instructor Effectiveness in Higher Education
Chatterjee and Vogl w23000 Growth and Childbearing in the Short- and Long-Run
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us