The Impact of Female Education on Fertility: Evidence from Turkey

Pinar Mine Gunes, University of Maryland

Based on the significant relationship between education and economic and social outcomes, development economists and policymakers have supported investments in education and urged improvements in educational programs and policies in many developing countries. This paper explores the relationship between female education and fertility in a causal manner using a change in the compulsory schooling law (CSL) in Turkey. More specifically, I use variation in the exposure to the CSL by date of birth as an instrumental variable. The results from reduced-form and instrumental variables estimations indicate that more female education indeed reduces early fertility and moreover these results are robust with respect to a rich set of controls. In particular, an extra year of female schooling results in between a 0.15 to 0.2 reduction in the number of early births. This paper also provides direct evidence that the impact of the educational policy operates through a delay in marriage.

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Presented in Poster Session 4