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Malaria ecology, child mortality & fertility


  • McCord, Gordon C.
  • Conley, Dalton
  • Sachs, Jeffrey D.


The broad determinants of fertility are thought to be reasonably well identified by demographers, though the detailed quantitative drivers of fertility levels and changes are less well understood. This paper uses a novel ecological index of malaria transmission to study the effect of child mortality on fertility. We find that temporal variation in the ecology of the disease is well-correlated to mortality, and pernicious malaria conditions lead to higher fertility rates. We then argue that most of this effect occurs through child mortality, and estimate the effect of child mortality changes on fertility. Our findings add to the literature on disease and fertility, and contribute to the suggestive evidence that child mortality reductions have a causal effect on fertility changes.

Suggested Citation

  • McCord, Gordon C. & Conley, Dalton & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 2017. "Malaria ecology, child mortality & fertility," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 1-17.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:24:y:2017:i:c:p:1-17 DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2016.10.011

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Fertility; Mortality; Malaria;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


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