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Does the education of others reduce fertility? Rodrigo Dominguez Oct. 7, 2008 Layout Variables that might affect fertility Importance of Education Processes through which the education of others affect fertility Other perspectives Variables that affect fertility Culture: Age at marriage and first birth. Gender Preference Contraceptive use Role of women at the household, community and national level. Economic status: Costs of child bearing Retirement expectations Economic activity. Health: Infant Mortality Rates Life Expectancy Urban-Rural Setting. Education Has the potential to affect all of the other variables. Education of Others Why? Non-educated women have experienced a reduction in fertility. Some variables are more likely to change in a highly educated society. Need to allocate resources more effectively How? Spillover Effects Broad Economic Changes. Education of Others? Spillover Effects Social Learning: Knowledge transmitted by communication and observation Social influence: Imitation of others’ behaviour to gain others’ approval. Both variables depend on the level of social interaction Source: Kravdal, 2002. Variables that affect fertility Culture: Age at marriage and first birth. Gender Preference Contraceptive use Role of women at the household, community and national level. Economic status: Costs of child bearing Retirement expectations Economic activity. Health: Infant Mortality Rates Life Expectancy Urban-Rural Setting. Education of Others? Broad Economic Change Higher productivity per worker in Agriculture. Establishment of Manufacturing Industries. Higher Concentration of People. Higher demand for female labour: Change in women’s role. Change in Costs and Benefits of children All these changes will also diffuse to the less educated population. Does the Education of Others Affect Fertility? Other perspectives How can education change fertility in places that have below replacement fertility rates? How to account for the effect of the education of “others” in the change of fertility rates? Interconnected variables Two way causation. Does education of others reduce fertility? Examples Sub Saharan-Africa (Kravdal) Higher education levels led to a decrease in fertility rate. This influenced both the educated and the uneducated segments of the population. India.(McNay) Increased use of contraceptives among the uneducated women. Clear example of social learning and social pressure. Conclusion The education of others does have the potential of reducing fertility. There are two main processes through which the education of others might affect fertility rates. It is hard to establish the causality of these changes, and to measure the “diffusion” effect, controlling for everything else.
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