From High School to the High Chair: Education and Fertility Timing

Jonathan James, Suncica Vujic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


We exploit an expansion of post-compulsory schooling that occurred from the late 1980s to the early 1990s to investigate the effect of education on the timing of fertility in England and Wales. We do not find a significant effect on the probability of having a child as a teenager but instead find that the variation in education led to delays in childbearing. Our estimates suggest that an increase in education by one year led to a 5.3% increase in probability of first birth aged 24 or above, 9.4% increase in probability of first birth aged 27 or above, and 13.3% increase in probability of first birth aged 30 or above. The mechanisms driving these findings are not due to an incapacitation effect – by keeping young people in school or university they have less time or opportunity to have a child – but due to a combination of human capital and signalling effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Early online date4 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Education
  • Fertility timing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Economics and Econometrics

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