Education and fertility: evidence from a natural experiment

Karin Monstad, Carol Propper, Kjell G. Salvanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Declining fertility is often attributed to the increased education of women. It is difficult to establish a causal link because both fertility and education have changed secularly. In this paper we study the connection between fertility and education using educational reform as an instrument to control for selection. Our results indicate that increasing education leads to postponement of first births away from teenage motherhood and towards women having their first birth in their 20s as well as, for a smaller group, up to the age of 35-40. We find no evidence, however, that more education results in more women remaining childless or having fewer children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-852
Number of pages26
JournalScandinavian Journal of Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Education
  • Educational reform
  • Fertility

Cite this