Rethinking the Relationship Between Education and Fertility: Using Simulation to Assess the Role of Unobservables

Daniel Ciganda , Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Angelo Lorenti, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

We aim to provide a new interpretation of the relationship between education and fertility by showing that a significant part of the weakening negative educational gradient of fertility across cohorts is a result of the decreasing share of unplanned births. In order to do so we combine Agent-Based simulation with standard statistical modeling approaches, showing how our understanding of key demographic mechanisms could change if we were able to incorporate in our modeling difficult or impossible to observe quantities. We argue that instead of interpreting recent evidence as a {\it reversal} of a long standing negative association, we should probably think of it as the emergence of the ``true'' nature of the relationship after compositional changes minimize the effect of confounding factors.

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 Presented in Session 33. Education, Employment, and Sexual and Reproductive Behavior