Enrolment as an Excuse? On the Causal Effect of Education on Fertility Postponement

Women’s mean age at first birth steeply increased by as many as 4–5 years during the second half of the twentieth century throughout Europe and the United States, and was accompanied by an overall increase in educational attainment. It has been argued that the educational expansion is largely responsible for fertility postponement for a number of reasons. Being enrolled in education may, for example, lead to postponement of childbearing because combining student and mother roles is difficult, given that they both entail time-intensive tasks. Continue reading

Targeted to Whom? Stipend Programs, Inequality and School Attainment in Rural Bangladesh

Improving educational attainment is important for achieving population targets and meeting economic development goals in low-income countries. Over the past few decades, targeted stipend programs have been used to improve the school attainment in poor populations in countries as diverse as Turkey, Mexico, and Brazil. The principal behind these programs is simple: cash or in-kind incentives are provided to targeted poor households conditional upon children’s school attendance. Evaluations of stipend programs show positive impacts across contexts: stipend programs improve enrollment and attainment and – in some cases – delay the start of marriage and childbearing. Continue reading

A ‘Recipe for Depopulation’? School Closures and Local Decline in Saxony

There is a long tradition of debating the relative merits of small village schools versus larger central, consolidated schools. In weighing the advantages and disadvantages of both, the arguments commonly fall within two camps. On the one hand, larger schools are presumed to be more efficient and offer superior facilities and broader curricular choice. On the other hand, smaller schools are often felt to afford individual teaching interactions and encourage greater integration within community life.  When considering the value of a local school as a vital focal point of village life, the debate extends beyond strictly pedagogical concerns and into the realms of demography, migration, social cohesion, and child-parent experiences.

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Are Expatriates Really That Different From Immigrants?

Expatriates – highly-skilled workers who temporarily live abroad because of their jobs – are often seen as extraordinary people, not only very different from those who have always lived in their country of birth, but also much unlike immigrants, who moved to another country to stay there more or less permanently. In contrast to ‘ordinary’ migrants, expatriates are usually depicted as cosmopolitans, who feel at home anywhere, but are rooted nowhere. Some scholars argue that expatriates present themselves as world citizens, but that in reality, they only feel comfortable with transnational business men and women like themselves.

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On Student Mobility From Post-Soviet Countries

Internationally mobile students remain the least studied category of migrants despite the remarkable growth in the numbers of students who choose to study abroad. With 8% of 4 million internationally mobile students originating from post-Soviet countries, very little is known about the macroeconomic factors that may push young people from this region to pursue undergraduate education abroad, or the most popular destination countries for them.

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The Role of School District Boundary Lines in Perpetuating School Segregation

Much of the current American educational policy focuses on individual-level reforms that are intended to encourage teachers to work harder so that students will learn more and achieve higher levels on standardized tests. However, this approach fails to recognize the importance of structural features in supporting or limiting students’ academic success. The organization of school districts and the extent to which they segregate students has major implications for the educational opportunities of students and their corresponding outcomes.

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Sibling Similarity in Family Formation

Sibling data have been widely used to analyze the impact of family background on status attainment. To a lesser extent, they have been utilized for examining family-of-origin effects on demographic outcomes, such as leaving the parental home, union formation, and fertility. This research gap is surprising in view of the increased interest in the interdependencies between demographic processes among family members and their role in the (re‑)production of social inequality across generations. We address this issue in our recently published paper on sibling similarities in family formation.

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How Different is a College Degree From a Spouse?

More educated individuals face substantially lower mortality rates than less educated ones. In our recent paper Pijoan-Mas and Ríos-Rull (2014), we use data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to compute expected longevity at age 50 for white males and white females of different education levels in the US (the focus on these age and race groups is because of sample sizes.) We find that the difference in expected longevity between college graduates and individuals without a high school degree is large: 6.6 years for males and 5.8 years for females.

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Missing Out on College: The Role of Family Instability in Educational Attainment in the United States

The value and meaning of a college education in the United States has perhaps never been more contentious than it is today. Media and political attention highlight rising tuition rates, soaring student debt, and an anemic entry-level job market for recent college graduates. Fewer than 60 percent of students who begin post-secondary education earn a Bachelor’s degree within six years. At the same time, scholars and activists have argued that increased access to college education and improved retention to graduation may be the most effective pair of strategies available to increase social mobility and ameliorate economic inequality while expanding economic growth.

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Minimalists, Gamblers, and Pioneers: How Future Aspirations Offer Insight in to Current Complexities

Studies of contraceptive use reveal intersecting, and often competing, life realms that individuals navigate when making fertility decisions. The decision of whether or not to use contraception is only in part a decision about one’s desire for a child; it is also a consideration of potential career tradeoffs, social network repercussions, financial resources, and the development of one’s identity as an adult – man or woman. Alternatively, a laissez faire approach to pregnancy prevention can be equally revealing of an individual’s or couple’s negotiations through other important life goals.

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