DP8339 | Does Parental Education Affect Fertility? Evidence from Pre-Demographic Transition Prussia

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While women's employment opportunities, relative wages, and the child quantity-quality trade-off have been studied as factors underlying historical fertility limitation, the role of parental education has received little attention. We combine Prussian county data from three censuses--1816, 1849, and 1867--to estimate the relationship between women?s education and their fertility before the demographic transition. Despite controlling for several demand and supply factors, we find a negative residual effect of women?s education on fertility. Instrumental-variable estimates, using exogenous variation in women's education driven by differences in landownership inequality, suggest that the effect of women?s education on fertility is causal.