Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Effects of Education and Family Formation on Fertility in Ukraine

The Changing Effects of Education on Family Formation during a Period of Rapid Social Change

Brienna Perelli-Harris


This study demonstrates how broad societal-level change not only alters the composition of individual-level characteristics in a population, but also affects the relationship between mechanisms and behavior. Focusing on post-Soviet Ukraine, this paper examines how massive economic, political, and social transformations changed individual-level childbearing decision-making. Specifically, I investigate how social change in Ukraine altered the effects of one institution – education - on the timing of first and second births and marriage. I find that whereas previously more highly educated women would have had higher first birth rates once school enrollment and marriage were controlled, after Independence women with higher education delayed childbearing. The rates of second births and marriage also declined after Independence. Explanations for the changing effects of education on family formation include the restructuring of theeducational system, shifting opportunity costs, and exposure to new ideas and values.

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