IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Absent and Problematic Men: Demographic Accounts of Male Reproductive Roles


  • Margaret E. Greene
  • Ann E. Biddlecom


Both men and women are important actors in bringing children into life, yet demographic studies on reproduction have tended to focus on women alone. The aims of this article are: 1) to describe why men have attracted limited interest as subjects of such research; 2) to evaluate existing research on men's roles in developing countries; and 3) to suggest directions for future research on male reproductive roles. Men, once neglected, are now included in research on fertility but from a narrow, overly problem-oriented perspective. A review of the literature, however, raises questions about the adequacy of a problem oriented approach. The authors argue that demography should focus on men not only as women's partners, but also as individuals with distinct reproductive histories. In situations, now increasingly common, where the links between marriage and childbearing erode, the differences in men's and women's reproductive experiences and the costs and benefits of parenting will become more salient for future research. Copyright 2000 by The Population Council, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Margaret E. Greene & Ann E. Biddlecom, 2000. "Absent and Problematic Men: Demographic Accounts of Male Reproductive Roles," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(1), pages 81-115.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:26:y:2000:i:1:p:81-115

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Erica FIELD & Vera MOLITOR & Alice SCHOONBROODT & Michèle TERTILT, 2016. "Gender Gaps in Completed Fertility," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 167-206, June.
    2. Ernestina Coast & Kate Hampshire & Sara Randall, 2007. "Disciplining anthropological demography," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 16(16), pages 493-518, June.
    3. Holger von der Lippe & Urs Fuhrer, 2002. "Where qualitative research meets demography: interdisciplinary explorations of conceptions on fatherhood in an extremely low fertility context," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-028, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Thompson, Michael E. & Harutyunyan, Tsovinar L., 2006. "Contraceptive practices in Armenia: Panel evaluation of an Information-Education-Communication Campaign," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(11), pages 2770-2783, December.
    5. David Alich, 2007. "Differences between male and female fertility in Russia: an evaluation of basic pattern and data quality using the first wave of the Russian GGS," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2007-015, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    6. Øystein Kravdal, 2007. "Effects of current education on second- and third-birth rates among Norwegian women and men born in 1964: Substantive interpretations and methodological issues," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 17(9), pages 211-246, November.
    7. Tijou Traoré, Annick & Querre, Madina & Brou, Hermann & Leroy, Valériane & Desclaux, Alice & Desgrées-du-Loû, Annabel, 2009. "Couples, PMTCT programs and infant feeding decision-making in Ivory Coast," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 830-837, September.
    8. Karen Guzzo, 2009. "Paternity Establishment for Men’s Nonmarital Births," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 28(6), pages 853-872, December.
    9. Alexandra Tragaki & Christos Bagavos, 2014. "Male fertility in Greece," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(6), pages 137-160, July.
    10. -, 2012. "Social Panorama of Latin America 2011," Panorama Social de América Latina, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1243 edited by Eclac, December.
    11. Thapa, Deependra Kaji & Niehof, Anke, 2013. "Women's autonomy and husbands' involvement in maternal health care in Nepal," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-10.
    12. Gunnar Andersson & Boris Sobolev, 2001. "Small effects of selective migration and selective survival in retrospective studies of fertility," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-031, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    13. Angelika Tölke, 2004. "Die Bedeutung von Herkunftsfamilie, Berufsbiografie und Partnerschaften für den Übergang zur Ehe und Vaterschaft," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2004-007, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    14. Marcia Carlson & Alicia VanOrman & Natasha Pilkauskas, 2013. "Examining the Antecedents of U.S. Nonmarital Fatherhood," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1421-1447, August.
    15. Murshid, Nadine Shaanta, 2016. "Mothers' empowerment and father involvement in child health care in Bangladesh," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 17-23.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:26:y:2000:i:1:p:81-115. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.