Relative Cohort Size: Source of a Unifying Theory of Global Fertility Transition?
AbstractUsing United Nations estimates of age structure and vital rates for 184 countries at five-year intervals from 1950 through 1995, this article demonstrates how changes in relative cohort size appear to have affected patterns of fertility across countries since 1950-not just in developed countries, but perhaps even more importantly in developing countries as they pass through the demographic transition. The increase in relative cohort size (defined as the proportion of males aged 15-24 relative to males aged 25-59), which occurs as a result of declining mortality rates among infants, children, and young adults during the demographic transition, appears to act as the mechanism that determines when the fertility portion of the transition begins. As hypothesized by Richard Easterlin, the increasing proportion of young adults generates a downward pressure on young men's relative wages (or on the size of landhold-ings passed on from parent to child), which in turn causes young adults to accept a tradeoff between family size and material wellbeing, setting in motion a "cascade" or "snowball" effect in which total fertility rates tumble as social norms regarding acceptable family sizes begin to change. Copyright 2000 by The Population Council, Inc..
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by The Population Council, Inc. in its journal Population and Development Review.
Volume (Year): 26 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0098-7921
Other versions of this item:
- Diane Macunovich, 1999. "Relative Cohort Size: Source of a Unifying Theory of Global Fertility Transition," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 8, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
- J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
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