The impact of college education on women’s fertility: evidence from a natural experiment in South Korea

Haeil Jung, Miyeun Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study estimates the impact of women’s college education on their fertility-related outcomes by taking advantage of a natural experiment known as the graduation quota program that massively expanded women’s opportunities to attend college in South Korea. After the 1979 military coup, the military regime in South Korea ordered all public and private colleges to expand their college admission levels by 30 per cent in 1981 and 50 per cent in 1982. This study implemented instrumental variable (IV) analysis using the Korean Longitudinal Survey of Women and Families (KLoWF). Specifically, our IV analysis uses the birth cohorts that were differently exposed to this sudden and exogenous policy change as an instrumental variable to identify the longer-term effects of college education on women’s fertility-related outcomes. It is found that college education caused those women who were induced to attend college by the graduation quota program to have fewer children. Furthermore, this study finds that this impact can be partially explained by women being less likely to get married.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian Population Studies
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • College education
  • fertility
  • graduation quota program
  • marriage
  • natural experiment
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography

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