Determinants of Fertility in the Long Run

36 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2016

Date Written: November 30, 2016


This study investigates the determinants of fertility in the long run, using a newly constructed panel data set consisting of fertility rates, measured as crude birth rates, infant mortality rates, per-capita income, and the educational attainment of men and women for 43 countries from 1890 to 2010 at five-year intervals. The regression results show the significant effects of per-capita income, infant mortality, educational attainment, and political development on fertility rates. A woman’s educational attainment at the primary and secondary levels has a pronounced negative effect on fertility rates. On the contrary, an increase in a woman’s tertiary educational attainment, with the level of a man’s remaining constant, tends to raise fertility rates, indicating that highly educated women can have a better environment for childbearing and childrearing in a society with greater gender equality. The presented research thus identifies the important role of human capital accumulation, especially attained by women, in demographic transition through fertility decisions for over a century of human history.

Keywords: Economic Development, Education, Female Education, Fertility, Gender Inequality

JEL Classification: 125, J13

Suggested Citation

Lee, Jong-Wha, Determinants of Fertility in the Long Run (November 30, 2016). CAMA Working Paper No. 70/2016 . Available at SSRN: or

Jong-Wha Lee (Contact Author)

Korea University ( email )

Anam-dong, Sungbuk-Ku
Dept. of Economics
Seoul, 136-701
82-2-3290-2216 (Phone)
82-2-928-4948 (Fax)

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