Further Estimates of the Contribution of Rising Educational Participation to Fertility Postponement: A Model-Based Decomposition for the U.K., France and Belgium

Karel Neels, Universiteit Antwerpen
Michael Murphy, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Maire Ni Bhrolchain, University of Southampton
Eva Beaujouan, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

Fertility postponement has contributed to low period fertility in Europe since the early 1970s, and in Southeast Asia and Latin America more recently. Although attributed to a wide range of causes, recent findings suggest that delayed childbearing is closely linked to educational participation. Initial estimates suggest that rising enrolment may explain up to 80 per cent of the rise in mean ages at first birth in some countries by raising the average age at completing education. Using generalized additive models, this paper analyzes variation in first birth rates by age at leaving education and duration since leaving education in Britain, France and Belgium between 1970 and 2000. Subsequently, based on fitted rates, direct and indirect standardization by age at leaving education and duration since leaving education are used to decompose variation of first birth schedules by age in terms of composition effects and rate effects in the countries considered.

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Presented in Session 194: Determinants of Birth Timing