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On the structural value of children and its implication on intended fertility in Bulgaria

  • Christoph Bühler

    (Leibniz Universitaet Hannover)

Registered author(s):

    Personal networks are receiving increasing recognition as structural determinants of fertility. However, the network perspective also helps to explain personal motivations for having children. Using theories of interpersonal exchange, social capital, and the value of children, it is argued in this article that children can substantively improve their parents’ social networks. Individuals perceive this potential advantageous development as a structural benefit and consider this value in their reproductive decisions. This argument is empirically explored with data from Bulgaria, collected in 2002. The results document the presence of structural evaluations among subjectively perceived child-related benefits. Moreover, structural evaluations matter for the reproductive decision-making of Bulgarian citizens. Women’s fertility intentions are supported by the prospect that a child will bring their parents and relatives closer or will improve their security at old age. Males’ intentions are closely associated with the expectation that a child will provide support when they are old.

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    File URL: http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol18/20/18-20.pdf
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    Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 20 (June)
    Pages: 569-610

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    Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:18:y:2008:i:20
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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    1. Warren Miller, 1986. "Proception: An important fertility behavior," Demography, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 579-594, November.
    2. S. Philip Morgan, 2003. "Is low fertility a twenty-first-century demographic crisis?," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 589-603, November.
    3. Lee Lillard & Robert Willis, 1997. "Motives for interqenerational transfers: Evidence from Malaysia," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 115-134, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Debra Friedman & Michael Hechter & Satoshi Kanazawa, 1994. "A theory of the value of children," Demography, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 375-401, August.
    6. Lokshin, Michael M. & Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2001. "Household strategies for coping with poverty and social exclusion in post-crisis Russia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2556, The World Bank.
    7. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
    8. Christoph Bühler & Dimiter Philipov, 2005. "Social Capital Related to Fertility: Theoretical Foundations and Empirical Evidence from Bulgaria," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 3(1), pages 53-81.
    9. Rodolfo Bulatao, 1981. "Values and disvalues of children in successive childbearing decisions," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-25, February.
    10. Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2001. "Fertility and Social Interaction: An Economic Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199244591.
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