Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze the correlation between the educational level and the number of children in Italy, where a very low fertility rate may be observed. Design/methodology/approach – Since the number of children ever born is a count variable, Poisson regression is the suitable statistical procedure used to conduct the empirical analysis. First, the authors estimate the correlation between the female's education and her number of children, and then the authors use also partner's education to take into account the family dimension. Furthermore, in the context of fertility, zero observations might be due either to the choice not to have children, or to the impossibility of becoming a mother. For this reason, the authors adopt also a more appropriate tool, that is a zero‐inflated Poisson regression. Findings – From the empirical results, a significant negative correlation may be observed between the level of education and the number of children. Originality/value – There are other studies in the literature focusing on the correlation between female participation rate and her fertility rate in the Italian case. In those frameworks, the education variable is usually considered as a control variable. The paper's contribution to the literature is twofold: on one hand the authors develop a theoretical model giving an intuition reason of mechanism underlying the fertility behaviour of families; on the other hand, the authors implement more appropriate empirical models to test for this hypothesis, taking education as the main variable.
International Journal of Social Economics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 9, 2012
Keywords: Italy; Women; Children; Family; Birth rate; Human capital; Education; Fertility
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