The Long-Term Impact of College Education on Women’s Attitudes Toward Marriage and Children

Dahye Kim, Haeil Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Social attitudes toward marriage and motherhood have shifted away from the traditional norms of universal marriage and childbearing. While the second demographic transition theory stresses the importance of education in bringing ideational changes behind low fertility and low marriage rates, a causal link between college education and attitudinal change has not been studied much. To fill this literature gap, this study demonstrates the enduring impact of college education on women’s family attitudes using South Korea’s policy shock, which offered people the opportunity to attend college in the 1980s. This study finds that college education in the 1980s encouraged women to have non-traditional attitudes toward marriage and motherhood. Women who attended college via the graduation quota program reported that marriage and giving birth at a young age were not necessary more than women without the opportunity. We constructed a composite index of family formulation which showed the same result.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-123
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • children
  • college education
  • marriage
  • natural experiment
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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