Demographic Transition, Family Size and Child Schooling
This paper first presents evidence to show that in recent years there has been a substantial fall in fertility among illiterate women in India. Subsequently, using the data from the Human Development Profile Survey of 1994, it shows that child schooling among illiterate parents is inversely related to family size and positively related to contraceptive use. By connecting these two pieces of evidence, the paper argues that fertility is falling and child schooling is rising among illiterate couples because of the quantity-quality trade-off. The detrimental effect of family size on child schooling is found to be more severe on female children and on the first-born of either sex. Perhaps this is because when family size is large, these children are either not sent to school at all or withdrawn early, to supplement the family income or to look after the younger siblings. Consequently, it is argued that the first female child would particularly stand to gain from declines in fertility.