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ERIC Number: ED517019
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Mother's Schooling, Fertility, and Children's Education: Evidence from a Natural Experiment. NBER Working Paper No. 16856
Lavy, Victor; Zablotsky, Alexander
National Bureau of Economic Research
This paper studies the effect of mothers' education on their fertility and their children's schooling. We base our evidence on a natural experiment that sharply reduced the cost of attending school and, as a consequence, significantly increased the education of affected cohorts. This natural experiment was the result of the de facto revocation in October 1963 of the military rule that had been imposed on Arabs in Israel, immediately creating free access to institutions of schooling. Military rule, in effect from 1948 to 1966, imposed severe restrictions on movement and travel and therefore disrupted access to schools for residents of localities that had no schools. The change in access to schools affected mainly girls, increasing schooling by 1.02 years for women who were aged 4-8 in 1964 and by 0.58 year for those who were aged 9-13 at the time. These very large effects triggered a sharp decline in completed fertility, measured at 0.61 child for the younger affected cohorts and 0.47 for the older cohorts. Implied 2SLS estimates show that a one-year increase in maternal schooling caused a decline in fertility of 0.5-0.6 child in the younger cohorts. Additional evidence that we present suggests that labor-force participation, age upon marriage, marriage and divorce rates, and spousal labor-force participation and earnings played no role in this fertility decline. However, since spousal education increased sharply through assortative matching, it did play a role in the decline in fertility. These results are robust to checks against various threats to our identification strategy. We also estimate that the increase in mother's schooling led to an increase in the education of children, amounting to about one-third of the increase in their mothers' schooling.
National Bureau of Economic Research. 1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138-5398. Tel: 617-588-0343; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Bureau of Economic Research
Identifiers - Location: Israel