Female Education, Fertility Decisions, and Infant Health: Evidence from China's Compulsory Education Law

Posted: 9 Jul 2020

See all articles by Chen Meng

Chen Meng

Technology & Policy Research Initiative, Boston University

Date Written: July 6, 2018

Abstract

This is the first study to analyze the causal effect of female education on fertility and infant health in China. I use Regression Discontinuity and Instrumental Variable methods and study the national Compulsory Education Law, which created a natural entrance threshold date that results in an exogenous variation in the timing of females’ primary school entry. Using data from the China Family Panel Studies, I find that on average, females born right after the threshold date enter school 0.25 years older in age and obtain 0.47 more completed years of schooling compared to their counterparts born right before the threshold. Starting school one year later reduces infant low birth weight by about 8 percent. However, it does not have a significant effect on fertility outcomes, such as the probability of becoming mother and age at first birth.

Keywords: Age at School Entry, Educational Attainment, Fertility, Infant Health

JEL Classification: I12, I21, J13, J16

Suggested Citation

Meng, Chen, Female Education, Fertility Decisions, and Infant Health: Evidence from China's Compulsory Education Law (July 6, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3628776 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3628776

Chen Meng (Contact Author)

Technology & Policy Research Initiative, Boston University ( email )

Boston, MA 02215
United States

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