February 27, 2024 9:53 am
Increasing education levels did not lead to an increase in the number of male children

A recent study by the Institute for Economic Research Etla has revealed an unexpected result: while advanced education is positively associated with family formation for women, it does not have the same effect on men. The study, which examined the effect of education on children’s income, found that access to secondary education increased the number of children for women by 5%, and access to a university of applied sciences by a further 5%, compared to those who were left out. However, the effect on men was close to zero.

The research manager and author of the study, Hanna Virtanen, explained that these results differ significantly from what was previously assumed and that there is no clear explanation for this discrepancy. While it was believed that education made it difficult for women to start a family but helped men find a relationship, both highly educated women and men now have a spouse and children more frequently than those with secondary education. However, there is still very little research on the cause and effect relationships in this area.

The study looked at the effect of education level by comparing the register data of individuals born between 1979-1985 who pursued secondary education or university of applied sciences. Those who barely exceeded or barely fell below the admission limits were included in the study. The assumption was that the groups of those who got in and those who stayed out near the entry border have quite similar characteristics. For men, the effect of education on income was significant, but it didn’t affect their likelihood of having children.

Virtanen speculated that one possible explanation for these results could be that men who have reached university postpone having children. Additionally, she suggested that education might be considered a sign of the ability to be a parent, especially for women. The next phase of the project aims to uncover these explanations and provide further insights into how education affects family formation.

While these results cannot be generalized to all educated and uneducated people, they provide valuable insights into how advanced education can positively impact family formation for women but not necessarily for men. Further research is needed to understand why this discrepancy exists and what factors contribute to family formation decisions based on educational attainment levels.

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