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Close kin influences on fertility behavior

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  • Robert G. White
  • Laura Bernardi

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

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    Abstract

    Family members are uniquely situated to influence the decision-making of their kin in nearly every facet of life. We examine the importance of social interactions in fertility outcomes by assessing family members’ scope of influence on their fellow kin’s fertility behavior. With the unique KASS genealogical dataset from eight countries in Europe, we study the effects of family members’ fertility outcomes on individual fertility to assess the presence and the extent of inter-generational transmission of fertility behaviors and siblings’ influences on fertility outcomes. We find only limited evidence of the inter-generational transmission of fertility behaviors, but a relatively important effect of siblings for individual fertility. Rather than parents, siblings’ influences appear to constitute the largest share of familial influences on fertility outcomes. We also find that among siblings, women’s fertility is more subject to the influences of their sisters. These findings indicate the relative importance of close kin influences on individual fertility and demonstrate the consequences of family structure for fertility change.

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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2008-024.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its series MPIDR Working Papers with number WP-2008-024.

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    Length: 40 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2008-024

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    Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

    Related research

    Keywords: Europe; family demography; family size; fertility; kinship; sisters;

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    References

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    1. Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2001. "Fertility and Social Interaction: An Economic Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199244591, September.
    2. Tomas Frejka & Jean-Paul Sardon, 2006. "First birth trends in developed countries: a cohort analysis," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere R. Behrman & Susan Cotts Watkins, 1999. "The structure of social networks and fertility decisions: evidence from S. Nyanza District, Kenya," MPIDR Working Papers WP-1999-005, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Henriette Engelhardt & Tomas Kögel & Alexia Prskawetz, 2001. "Fertility and women´s employment reconsidered: A macro-level time-series analysis for developed countries, 1960-2000," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-021, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2002. "A note on the changing relationship between fertility and female employment rates in developed countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 667-682.
    6. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere Behrman & Susan Watkins, 2001. "The density of social networks and fertility decisions: evidence from south nyanza district, kenya," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 43-58, February.
    7. William Axinn & Marin Clarkberg & Arland Thornton, 1994. "Family influences on family size preferences," Demography, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 65-79, February.
    8. Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & Susan Watkins, 2002. "Social networks and changes in contraceptive use over time: Evidence from a longitudinal study in rural Kenya," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 713-738, November.
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