Testing Pathways of Influence from Education to Fertility: Educational Enrollment and Attitudinal Change

Emily Marshall, University of Michigan
Caroline Sten Hartnett, University of South Carolina

An association between women’s education and fertility is well-established: women with more education have fewer children and start childbearing later, on average, than their less educated peers. However, it has been difficult for researchers to disentangle the multiple co-occurring mechanisms by which women’s education may affect their fertility. In this paper, we use changes in measures of young women’s attitudes and beliefs over time to test competing theories of the mechanisms by which educational enrollment may affect fertility. Using data with unusually rich longitudinal measures of fertility-related attitudes and beliefs, we test whether mediating attitudes change in response to school enrollment in ways consistent with each hypothesized pathway.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility Intentions and Behavior