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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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