Working Paper BETA #2015-28

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Title : Did Gender-Bias Matter in the Quantity- Quality Trade-off in the 19th Century France ?

Author(s) : Claude Diebolt, Tapas Mishra, Faustine Perrin

Abstract : Recent theoretical developments of growth models, especially on unified theories of growth, suggest that the child quantity-quality trade-off has been a central element of the transition from Malthusian stagnation to sustained growth. Using an original censusbased dataset, this paper explores the role of gender on the trade-off between education and fertility across 86 French counties during the nineteenth century, as an empirical extension of Diebolt-Perrin (2013). We first test the existence of the child quantity-quality trade-off in 1851. Second, we explore the long-run effect of education on fertility from a gendered approach. Two important results emerge: (i) significant and negative association between education and fertility is found, and (ii) such a relationship is non-unique over the distribution of education/fertility. While our results suggest the existence of a negative and significant effect of the female endowments in human capital on the fertility transition, the effects of negative endowment almost disappear at low level of fertility.

Key-words : Cliometrics, Education, Fertility, Demographic Transition, Unified growth theory, Nineteenth century France

JEL Classification : C22, C26, C32, C36, C81, C82, I20, J13, N01, N33.