Primary Education and Fertility Rates in Southern Africa: Evidence from Before the Demographic Transition

Working paper 432
Author(s): 
Manoel Bittencourt
Publication date: 
May, 2014
Journal: 
The Economics of Transition
Classification-JEL: 

I investigate whether primary school completion has played any role on total fertility rates in all fifteen countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) between 1980 and 2009. The evidence, based on panel time-series analysis (I use the Pooled OLS, Fixed Effects and Fixed Effects with Instrumental Variables estimators in order to deal with heterogeneity and endogeneity in thin panels), suggests that primary education has indeed reduced fertility rates in the SADC, or that the community is already trading-off quantity for quality of children. The results are important because lower fertility, caused by education, implies more capital per worker, higher productivity and therefore higher growth rates, and also because - in accordance to the unified growth theory - they suggest that the SADC, like other regions in the past, is experiencing its own transition from the Malthusian regime into sustained growth.

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