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The impact of female education on fertility: a natural experiment from Egypt
Authors: Fatma Romeh M. Ali, and Shiferaw Gurmu
Source: Review of Economics of the Household, First Online: 28 December 2016, page 1-32; doi:10.1007/s11150-016-9357-6
Topic(s): Education
Women's status
Country: Africa
Published: DEC 2016
Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on the impact of female education on fertility in Egypt using the change in the length of primary schooling as the source of exogenous variation in education. Beginning in 1988, the Egyptian government cut the number of primary school years from six to five, moving from a 12-year system of pre-university education to an 11-year system. This policy change affected all individuals born on or after October 1977. Using triennial pooled cross-section data from 1992 to 2014 and a nonparametric regression discontinuity approach, we compare education and fertility of women born just before and right after October 1977. Our analysis shows that female education significantly reduces the number of children born per woman. The reduction in fertility seems to result from delaying maternal age rather than changing women’s fertility preferences. We also provide evidence that female education in Egypt does not boost women’s labor force participation or affect their usages of contraceptive methods. Female education, however, does appear to increase women’s age at marriage which might explain the delay of maternal age. Keywords Fertility Female education DHS data Regression discontinuity Egypt