The Changing Effects of Education on Family Formation during a Period of Rapid Social Change: Lowest-Low Fertility in Post-Soviet Ukraine

Brienna Perelli, University of Michigan

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, the paper examines how massive economic, political, and social transformations changed individual-level 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 before Independence, more highly educated women would have had higher first birth rates once school enrollment and marriage were controlled, and after Independence, women with higher education delayed childbearing. The timing of second births and marriage also changed after Independence, as did the relationship between education and second births. Explanations for the changing effects of education on family formation include the restructuring of the educational system, shifting opportunity costs, and exposure to new ideas and values.

  See paper

Presented in Session 128: Variations in the Lowest-Low Fertility