The effect of education on fertility

Dan Anderberg, Royal Holloway, University of London and Yu Zhu, University of Kent

[Project number 30128]

The current project looks at the causal effect of education on fertility. It exploits a feature of school-leaving law in England and Wales which allowed pupils born in the first five months of the academic year (Sept-Jan) to leave school at Easter of the year in which they reached the minimum school leaving age (while the remaining academic cohort were required to stay on for one more term). This feature created a gap in academic attainment by month of birth at the induced January-February threshold, most notably for the 14 academic cohorts born between Sept 1957 (the first to be affected by the age 16 school-leaving age) and Aug 1971 (the last before the introduction of the GCSEs). We have obtained from the ONS, fertility for women born in E&W by month-birth-cohort and will examine fertility by month of birth relative to the January-February threshold. However, the structure of the ONS data does not allow us to describe the simple association between qualifications and fertility for the relevant cohorts. For that reason we are using data from the LS that will allow us to do this.