Cover: Fertility, education and resources in South Africa

Fertility, education and resources in South Africa

by Duncan Thomas

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price
Add to Cart Paperback43 pages Free

Population and education are likely to play a central role in public policy in South Africa as it emerges from apartheid. Household survey data are used to examine mechanisms that underlie the negative association between fertility and education. First, education is not randomly assigned within a population. It is demonstrated that part of the association between education and fertility reflects self-selection in educational achievement. Second, because education and household resources tend to be correlated, a woman's education may be a proxy for her income. Female education continues to have a powerful negative association with fertility. A third set of experiments attempts to isolate the relationship between skills learned in school and demographic outcomes. Performance on quantitative and comprehension tests has an independent impact on fertility. The impact of comprehension skills is particularly large, suggesting that assimilation of information may be important in affecting family decisionmaking.

Originally published in: Critical Perspectives on Schooling and Fertility in the Developing World, pp. 138-180.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.