Does female schooling reduce fertility? Evidence from Nigeria

October 14, 2008 • Nigeria, News

The literature generally points to a negative relationship between female education and fertility. Citing this pattern, policymakers have advocated educating girls and young women as a means to reduce population growth and foster sustained economic and social welfare in developing countries. This paper tests whether the relationship between fertility and education is indeed causal by investigating the introduction of universal primary education in Nigeria. Exploiting differences in program exposure by region and age, the paper presents reduced form and instrumental variables estimates of the impact of female education on fertility. The analysis suggests that increasing female education by one year reduces early fertility by 0.26 births.

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