Human capital and the cohort parity progression ratios in Germany

Melissa Caldeira Brant de Souza Lima, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (WU)

Underlying the decades-long German trend in low fertility, significant differences exist in family size, following distinct patterns across the country. From that perspective it becomes essential to consider a broad scope of analysis when dealing with the probability of both parenthood and having additional children. Considering the many approaches that have been adopted in this analysis for Germany, is found few empirical works with educational differentials and cohort parity progression , although the relation between human capital and fertility is theoretically well grounded. This paper aims to contribute with the discussions on the referred association using a longitudinal study. The method adopted is retrospective maternity histories with decomposition of natural order of birth and educational level of birth cohorts of women born between 1945 and 1968. The framework considerate the economic, social and cultural contexts of the education-fertility relation. An overall conjecture is that higher levels of human capital and markedly post-materialist characteristics would lead to low fertility rates, but this effect would be compensated in stronger social and gender egalitarian systems. As an important aspect of human capital and women’s empowerment, the educational attainment would play a decisive role in fertility. However, we can hypothesize that if the gender educational gap between man and woman of the same cohort is significant, it would mitigate the effects of women’s education. That effect would be greater when comparing the couple’s educational level. Also, we could assume that educational stratification has different impacts in the comparison of cohort fertility; that is, in more homogeneous systems the span between different levels of education will have a lower effect on fertility behavior than in more heterogeneous systems.

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Presented in Session 40: Education and fertility 1