Female Education, Fertility Decisions, and Infant Health: Evidence from China's Compulsory Education Law
Posted: 9 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 6, 2018
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
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