Paper Link Xiaojun Wang and Chi-Young Choi: Discontinuity of Output Convergence Within the United States: Why Has the Course Changed?, Economic Inquiry, January 2015.
Paper Link Miriam Bruhn and Inessa Love: The Real Impact of Improved Access to Finance: Evidence from Mexico, Journal of Finance, June 2014
Paper Link Ronald Lee, Andrew Mason, and members of the NTA network : Is Low Fertility Really a Problem? Science, 10 October 2014.
In this paper we examine the fertility and mating market effects of education. We exploit a quasi-experiment generated by a change in UK compulsory schooling laws. This change, introduced in 1972, forced all students to stay in full-time education until at least age 16. The reform was recent enough that access to legal abortion and modern contraception was quite similar to today, granting insight into the fertility effects of education in a modern context. This reform was binding for many girls, inducing around one quarter of the female population of England and Wales in the relevant cohorts to attend an additional year of school. For identification, we leverage the fact that compulsory school requirement was discontinuous with respect to cohort of birth using regression discontinuity methods. We show that the affected girls had significantly lower fertility in their teen years. Instrumental variables estimates imply a 30% reduction in births at ages 16 and 17 caused by the additional year of schooling. The decline was not accompanied by any increase in abortions. We also find that the reform had negligible impacts on completed fertility. Our findings suggest that education-based policies might reduce teen pregnancies without impacting completed fertility rates. On the mating market front, the reform induced both men and women to marry more educated mates and induced women to marry younger mates. The mating effects suggest that educational reforms can have multiplicative effects on household income by changing mate quality.