The Effects of General Versus Vocational Education on Women’s Labor Market, Fertility and Marital Outcomes

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


This project studies whether increased access to general versus vocational education in high school affects women’s labor market outcomes, fertility and marital choices. I focus on a 1977 French educational reform, which delayed the age at which students are sorted into general and vocational education, and allowed all students to pursue a common general education curriculum for two additional years. Using a regression discontinuity design and data from the 2011 population census, I evaluate how this reform affected women’s employment and earnings, incidence and timing of childbearing, marital status and spousal quality. This project aims to provide the first causal evidence on the impact of general versus vocational education on women’s long-term decisions regarding marriage and fertility. It will thus provide education policymakers with a more complete understanding of the link between the type of high school studies and long-term labor and family decisions.