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Impact of Fertility on Objective and Subjective Poverty in Malawi

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  • Richard Mussa

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Abstract

The paper uses data from the Second Malawi Integrated Household Survey (IHS2) to investigate the impact of fertility on poverty in rural Malawi. We use two measures of poverty; the objective and the subjective. After accounting for endogeneity of fertility by using son preference as an instrumental variable, we find that fertility increases the probability of being objectively poor. This effect is robust for all poverty lines used. It is also robust to accounting for economies of scale and household composition as well as assuming that poverty is continuous. We also find that when fertility is treated as an exogenous variable its impact is underestimated. When poverty is measured subjectively, the results are opposite to those of objective poverty. We find that fertility lowers the likelihood of feeling poor, and that fertility is exogenous with respect to subjective poverty.

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Paper provided by Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town in its series SALDRU Working Papers with number 50.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:50

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  1. Bokosi, Fanwell Kenala, 2006. "Household Poverty Dynamics in Malawi," MPRA Paper 1222, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Pradhan, Menno & Ravallion, Martin, 1998. "Measuring poverty using qualitative perceptions of welfare," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2011, The World Bank.
  3. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Issues in measuring and modeling poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1615, The World Bank.
  4. Joshua D. Angrist & William N. Evans, 1996. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," NBER Working Papers 5778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chiara Monfardini & Rosalba Radice, 2008. "Testing Exogeneity in the Bivariate Probit Model: A Monte Carlo Study," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(2), pages 271-282, 04.
  6. Susan Godlonton & Malcolm Keswell, 2005. "The Impact Of Health On Poverty: Evidence From The South African Integrated Family Survey," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(1), pages 133-148, 03.
  7. Deaton, A. & Zaidi, S., 1999. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis," Papers 192, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  8. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2002. "Self-rated economic welfare in Russia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1453-1473, September.
  9. Lokshin, Michael & Umapathi, Nithin & Paternostro, Stefano, 2004. "Robustness of subjective welfare analysis in a poor developing country - Madagascar 2001," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3191, The World Bank.
  10. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Amaresh Dubey, 2006. "Fertility and the household's economic status: A natural experiment using Indian micro data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(1), pages 110-138.
  11. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Well-being poverty versus income poverty and capabilities poverty?," Development and Comp Systems 0409040, EconWPA.
  12. Cohen, Barney & House, William J., 1994. "Demographic behavior and poverty: Micro-level evidence from Southern Sudan," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1031-1044, July.
  13. Jonathan Haughton & Dominique Haughton, 1998. "Are simple tests of son preference useful? An evaluation using data from Vietnam," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 495-516.
  14. Olsen, Randall J, 1983. "Mortality Rates, Mortality Events, and the Number of Births," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 29-32, May.
  15. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S14-64, Part II, .
  16. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  17. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin & DEC, 1994. "Poverty and household size," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1332, The World Bank.
  18. Bronars, Stephen G & Grogger, Jeff, 1994. "The Economic Consequences of Unwed Motherhood: Using Twin Births as a Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1141-56, December.
  19. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Paul Schultz, T., 1987. "Fertility and investments in human capital : Estimates of the consequence of imperfect fertility control in Malaysia," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 163-184.
  20. Mukherjee, Sanjukta & Benson, Todd, 2003. "The Determinants of Poverty in Malawi, 1998," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 339-358, February.
  21. Birdsall, Nancy M. & Griffin, Charles C., 1988. "Fertility and poverty in developing countries," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 29-55, April.
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Cited by:
  1. KUEPIE Mathias & SAIDOU HAMADOU Théophile, 2013. "The impact of fertility on household economic status in Cameroon, Mali and Senegal," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2013-20, CEPS/INSTEAD.

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