Time-squeeze, partner effect or self-selection? An investigation into the positive effect of women´s education on second birth risks in West Germany

Kreyenfeld, M. R.

Demographic Research, 7:2, 15-48 (2002)


Schlagworte: Germany (Neue Bundesländer), fertility


This paper investigates the role of women´s education in the transition to the second child using data from the 1997 German micro-census. We begin our analysis with a simple model, which shows a positive effect of women´s education on the transition rate to the second child for West German women. We argue that this effect is most likely confounded by various factors. Firstly, we assume that there is a time-squeeze effect, which increases the transition rate to the second child for more highly educated women. Secondly, titled as the partner hypothesis, we argue that more highly educated women often live with more highly educated partners who have the earning potential to afford a large family. Thirdly, titled as the selection hypothesis, we argue that the positive effect of women´s education can be attributed to a selection effect, i.e. family-oriented college graduates are more likely to select themselves into the group of women at risk of second birth. The empirical investigations particularly support the second and third hypotheses. After controlling for the partner´s characteristics and including unobserved heterogeneity factors, the positive effect of female education becomes strongly negative.