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Environmental degradation and the demand for children: searching for the vicious circle in Pakistan


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  • Filmer, Deon
  • Pritchett, Lant H.


If children contribute to the household by using their time to collect natural resources from common property sources such as collecting firewood, fetching water, collecting fodder, grazing animals then local depletion of these resources could potentially increase the demand for children. This feedback could create a dynamically unstable vicious circle between population growth and resource depletion. We empirically examine several elements of such a vicious circle hypothesis using data from Pakistan with unusually rich detail on both child time use and firewood collection activities. We find that collection activities do absorb a substantial part of household resources; that children s tasks are relatively devoted to collection activities; that child time is a significant, but not a dominant, portion of collection activities; and the presence of older children in the household reduces the time that women devote to household tasks. Exploratory multivariate regressions show a partial correlation between indicators of firewood scarcity and fertility a relationship that varies across regions of Pakistan.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 7 (2002)
Issue (Month): 01 (February)
Pages: 123-146

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Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:7:y:2002:i:01:p:123-146_00

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Cited by:
  1. Partha Dasgupta, 2013. "The Nature of Economic Development and the Economic Development of Nature," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge 1349, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  2. Masako Ikefuji & Ryo Horii, 2005. "Wealth Heterogeneity and Escape from the Poverty-Environment Trap," Development and Comp Systems 0505001, EconWPA.
  3. Bhattacharya, Haimanti & Innes, Robert, 2005. "Bi-Directional Links Between Population Growth and the Environment: Evidence From India," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) 19404, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  4. Robert Innes & George Frisvold, 2009. "The Economics of Endangered Species," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 485-512, 09.
  5. Dasgupta, Partha, 2010. "The Place of Nature in Economic Development," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier.


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