A meta-analysis of the relationship between women’s fertility intentions and level of education

Fabian Stephany, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Maria Rita Testa, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)

Empirical evidence indicates that more educated women do not intend to have fewer children than less educated women but they end up with fewer children than their lower-educated counterparts. In a previous work based on a multilevel analysis of intended family size in Europe, I showed that a positive and statistically significant cross-country correlation exists between the women’s mean intended family size and the country share of highly educated women of reproductive ages, relationship which is also robust to the inclusion of several individual and country-level confounders and to the use of different measures of education. In this paper, I aim to investigate the conditions under which this positive relationship between women’s educational level and childbearing intentions is observed by using meta-analysis techniques. The meta-analysis will be conducted looking separately at the timing and quantum of fertility intentions. The main geographical scope will be the Western countries. The results of this analysis will help reconciling the contradictory findings indicating that higher educated want more children but have lastly fewer children than their less educated counterparts.

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Presented in Session 100: Education and fertility