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Becker vs. Easterlin: education, fertility and growth in France after World War II

Claude Diebolt, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
Cedric Doliger, Université de Montpellier I

This article is aimed firstly at providing an empirical test of the causality link between fertility and education in France after World War II and subsequently at determining whether the underlying mechanism of the link was in agreement more with Becker's theory or that of Easterlin. It was found that the ideas of the two schools of thought are similar and complementary as the results show that a rise in the level of education causes a decrease in the fertility of couples and this link is triggered by an increase in opportunities and in the scope for investment in human capital. This follows a change in the situation on the labour market that means that women join the labour force in order to attain the desired standard of living. An accompanying effect is a decrease in child mortality, which also allows an increase in investment in education and hence a decrease in fertility.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Poster Session 2