How can compulsory education change educational attainment and fertility behaviours? Evidence from Indonesia

Mardi | 2018-03-27
Salle des thèses 16h – 17h20


This paper explores the relationship between compulsory education, educational attainment and fertility. More specifically, we focus on a law implemented in Indonesia that lengthened compulsory education by three years and we use the IFLS database. Empirically, we rely on a difference-in-differences model with a continuous treatment defined by the initial level of education in the individual’s region of birth. We find that the law increased junior secondary school attainment mainly in regions where the initial level was low. By changing the educational norms and behaviours in these regions, the law helped reduce geographical inequalities. Although the compulsory education law changed attitudes towards enrolment, it did not have any impact on learning outcomes. Given that it changed educational attainment, at least in regions that were initially lagging behind, it could also have had an impact on fertility behaviours. To identify the causal impact on fertility choices, we rely on an instrumental variables model where the instrument is the difference-in-differences variable. Our results suggest that increases in education caused by the compulsory education law led to a decrease in childlessness and to delay first birth. We observe no effect on achieved or desired fertility. Concerning the mechanisms, the negative effect on childlessness is explained by the positive relationship between marital status and education. On the contrary, we find no effect on the labour market and quite a small impact on sexual behaviours.