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The causal effects of education on age at marriage and marital fertility

Cummins, Neil (2022) The causal effects of education on age at marriage and marital fertility. Economic History Working Papers (341). London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

The negative association of education and fertility, over time and between countries, is a central stylized fact of social science. Yet we have scant evidence on whether this is, or is not, causal. Using the universe of vital registration index data from England, 1912 to 2007, I first show that it is possible, using unique names, to construct a demographically and socioeconomically representative sample of 1.5 million women. Historical record linkage of women is typically not attempted but is possible here because of the unique characteristics of English civil registration. I then exploit the natural experiment of sharp discontinuities in who was affected by compulsory schooling law changes in 1947 and in 1972, which exogenously and effectively raised the minimum school leaving age. A Regression Discontinuity design, executed on the individual data, identifies the causal effect of education on age at marriage and fertility. Education may have raised age at marriage in 1972. However one extra year of education at 15 or 16 has a zero causal effect on marital fertility.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: https://www.lse.ac.uk/Economic-History/Working-Pap...
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J13 - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N34 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: 1913-
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2022 13:36
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2022 12:57
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115400

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