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Education And Fertility Rates Notes

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Paper 4: Political and Sociological aspects of Economics Essay Discuss the view that providing better education will always reduce the fertility rate of
a developing country. In many countries, we observe a negative relationship between the level of education and
the number of children. Research related to this topic has particularly been focused on
female education, as studies have come to conclusions that the educational level of the
mother is generally a more decisive influence on fertility than similar characteristics of the
father.
Therefore, I will mainly concentrate my argument on female education, but take male

education into account when necessary. There are many ways how providing better female education will reduce fertility. Firstly, going
to school will increase the women's knowledge about contraception. This can either happen
directly through related lessons in school, or indirectly by improving literacy skills, which
enables women to better absorb campaigns related to contraception. With few exceptions,
the use of contraceptives rises across schooling categories.² In Latin America, the gap in
contraceptive use between the best and the least educated range from 20­50 percentage
points, depending on the country.³ Increasing the awareness of contraception helps women
to gain more control over family planning and reduces the number of unwanted births. Secondly, higher education for women also means better­paid jobs that are now available to
them. This means that better education raises the opportunity cost of having children, as
women then forgive the opportunity to work in better­paid jobs if they decide to raise children
instead. In the microeconomic theory of fertility, where children and consumption are both
normal goods, higher education and the access to better paid jobs increases the relative
price of children. More parents decide to substitute commodities for children, that is they go
to work and reduce the number of children. Instead, parents can attain for "higher quality",
which means that they have a smaller number of children but healthier and better educated. Furthermore, higher education and its connection with higher wages also influence the
parents' desire for children through another channel: In many countries without a social
welfare system, having children is the only possibility for parents to ensure their future well­
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