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The Effect of Investment in Children's Education on Fertility in 1816 Prussia


Sascha O. Becker


University of Warwick; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Francesco Cinnirella


CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Ludger Woessmann


Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

November 23, 2010

CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3252

Abstract:     
The interaction between investment in children’s education and parental fertility is crucial in recent theories of the transition from Malthusian stagnation to modern economic growth. This paper contributes to the literature on the child quantity-quality trade-off with new county-level evidence for Prussia in 1816, several decades before the demographic transition. We find a significant negative causal effect of education on fertility, which is robust to accounting for spatial autocorrelation. The causal effect of education is identified through exogenous variation in enrollment rates due to differences in landownership inequality. A comparison with estimates for 1849 suggests that the preference for quality relative to quantity might have increased during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: education, fertility, quantity-quality trade-off, unified growth theory, 19th century, Prussia

JEL Classification: N33, I20, J13

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Date posted: November 25, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Becker, Sascha O. and Cinnirella, Francesco and Woessmann, Ludger, The Effect of Investment in Children's Education on Fertility in 1816 Prussia (November 23, 2010). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3252. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1713690

Contact Information

Sascha O. Becker (Contact Author)
University of Warwick ( email )
Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany
HOME PAGE: http://sobecker.de
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Ifo Institute for Economic Research
Munich
Germany
Francesco Cinnirella
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )
Poschingerstrasse 5
Munich, 81679
Germany
Ludger Woessmann
Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )
Poschingerstr. 5
Munich
Germany
++49 89 9224 1699 (Phone)
++49 89 9224 1460 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany
University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research
Schackstr. 4
Munich, 80539
Germany
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