, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 931–956 | Cite as

A Longitudinal Analysis of the Relationship Between Fertility Timing and Schooling

  • Kevin StangeEmail author


This article quantifies the contribution of pre-treatment dynamic selection to the relationship between fertility timing and postsecondary attainment, after controlling for a rich set of predetermined characteristics. Eventual mothers and nonmothers are matched using their predicted birth hazard rate, which shares the desirable properties of a propensity score but in a multivalued treatment setting. I find that eventual mothers and matched nonmothers enter college at the same rate, but their educational paths diverge well before the former become pregnant. This pre-pregnancy divergence creates substantial differences in ultimate educational attainment that cannot possibly be due to the childbirth itself. Controls for predetermined characteristics and fixed effects do not address this form of dynamic selection bias. A dynamic model of the simultaneous childbirth-education sequencing decision is necessary to address it.


Fertility timing Educational attainment Matching 



Financial support for this work was provided by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (Interdisciplinary Training Grant No. T32-HD007275). I am especially grateful to Ron Lee for extensive guidance on this paper. I also thank Mia Bird, David Card, Ken Chay, Avi Ebenstein, Jane Herr, David S. Lee, Robert D. Mare, Rachel Polimeni, Marit Rehavi, Lawrence Wu, and participants at the UC Berkeley Demography Department Brown Bag and the 2006 annual meeting of the Population Association of America for numerous useful suggestions. All errors are, of course, my own.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gerald R. Ford School of Public PolicyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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