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

27 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2010

See all articles by Sascha O. Becker

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University - Department of Economics; University of Warwick

Francesco Cinnirella

University of Bergamo; University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CAGE

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

Date Written: November 23, 2010

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.

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

JEL Classification: N33, I20, J13

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1713690

Sascha O. Becker (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

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University of Warwick ( email )

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Francesco Cinnirella

University of Bergamo ( email )

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University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

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Ludger Woessmann

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