Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #717

Fertility Effects of College Education: Evidence from the German Educational Expansion

by Daniel A. Kamhöfer and Matthias Westphal

RGS, UDE, RWI, 12/2017, 42 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-836-3 DOI: 10.4419/86788836



We estimate the effects of college education on female fertility – a so far understudied margin of education, which we instrument by arguably exogenous variation induced through college expansions. While college education reduces the probability of becoming a mother, college-educated mothers have slightly more children than mothers without a college education. Unfolding the effects by the timing of birth reveals a postponement that goes beyond the time in college – indicating a negative earlycareer effect on fertility. Coupled with higher labor-supply and wage returns for nonmothers as compared to mothers the timing effects moreover suggest that career and family are not fully compatible.

JEL-Classification: C31, H52, I21, J12,

Keywords: Fertility; family planning; education