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Testing for a Supply Constraint to Fertility: Interpreting the Up to God Response to the Survey Question on Desired Family Size

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  • Nistha Sinha
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    Abstract

    The paper outlines a methodology that allows us to determine whether couples. fertility is supply constrained based on the response they give to the subjective desired family size question. The central idea of the paper is that, when faced with the desired family size question, both constrained and unconstrained couples compare their demand for children with knowledge of their biological supply and unconstrained couples respond with a number while constrained couples respond with a qualitative response such as, "It is Up to God" (UTG), that essentially conveys the notion of demanding as many children as the supply function can yield. I then test this interpretation using data from Bangladesh. I find that controlling for demand side characteristics, positive supply shocks (birth of twins) lowers the probability of UTG response while negative supply shocks (wife's infertility) significantly raises the probability of UTG response. Based on the percentage of women giving the UTG response, it can be concluded that fertility of many couples in Bangladesh was constrained by supply.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp889.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 889.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:889

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    Related research

    Keywords: fertility; desired fertility; survey nonresponse Classification-JEL Code: J13; C25;

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    References

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    1. Robert J. Willis & Sherwin Rosen, 1978. "Education and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 0249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
    3. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
    4. James McCarthy & Gbolahan Oni, 1987. "Desired family size and its determinants among urban Nigerian women: A two-stage analysis," Demography, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 279-290, May.
    5. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1980. "Testing the Quantity-Quality Fertility Model: The Use of Twins as a Natural Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 227-40, January.
    6. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1978. "Unionism and Wage Rates: A Simultaneous Equations Model with Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 415-33, June.
    7. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1985. "The Demand for and Supply of Births: Fertility and Its Life Cycle Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 992-1015, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah (Reading University) and Nazmul Chaudhury (World Bank), . "Religious Schools, Social Values and Economic Attitudes: Evidence from Bangladesh," QEH Working Papers qehwps139, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.

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