Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2011:24: Education policy and early fertility: lessons from an expansion of upper secondary schooling

Hans Grönqvist () and Caroline Hall ()
Additional contact information
Hans Grönqvist: Stockholm University
Caroline Hall: Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation

Abstract: This paper studies effects of education policy on early fertility. We study a major educational reform in Sweden in which vocational tracks in upper secondary school were prolonged from two to three years and the curricula were made more academic. Our identification strategy takes advantage of cross-regional and cross-time variation in the implementation of a pilot scheme preceding the reform in which several municipalities evaluated the new policy. The empirical analysis draws on rich population micro data. We find that women who enrolled in the new program were significantly less likely to give birth early in life and that this effect is driven by women with higher opportunity costs of child rearing. There is however no statistically significant effect on men’s fertility decisions. Our results suggest that the social benefits of changes in education policy may extend beyond those usually claimed.

Keywords: Schooling reform; teenage childbearing; fertility

JEL-codes: I20; J13

44 pages, December 15, 2011

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