The impact of education on fertility during the Chinese Reform Era

Pau Baizan-Munoz, Universitat Pompeu Fabra and ICREA
Wanli Nie, UCLouvain

We examined the influence of education on fertility decisions in contemporary China, drawing upon theoretical insights that emphasise the role of social institutions, gender relations, and life course dynamics in shaping family behaviour. This led us to propose a set of hypotheses that explain the differential effect of education on each parity. We used information on female cohorts born between 1960 and 1989, coming from the China Family Panel Studies for 2010–2018. We applied event history models with both independent and simultaneous equations models to account for selection and endogeneity effects. Consistent with our hypotheses, our results show little educational differentials in the probability of bearing a first child, while the better educated postpone first births. Women’s educational attainment is strongly negatively associated with the hazard of bearing a second or third child. Male partner’s educational attainment also has a negative effect on the hazard of transition to a second or third birth, yet with a weaker intensity. We also found that the negative effect of education on second birth rates significantly declines across birth-cohorts. Moreover, the effect of birth-control policies gradually increases with the level of education.

Keywords: Life course analysis, Event history analysis, Inequality, Politics and demography

See paper.

  Presented in Session 194. Economy, Education, and Fertility