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The empowerment of women, fertility, and child mortality: Towards a theoretical analysis

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  • Mukesh Eswaran

    () (Department of Economics, University of British Columbia, # 997-1873 East Mall, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z1.)

Abstract

This paper examines one avenue through which female autonomy impinges on fertility and child mortality in developing countries. A simple model is set out in which couples are motivated to have children for old age security purposes. The decisions of a couple regarding fertility and allocation of resources for the healthcare of their children are made within a bargaining framework. An increase in female autonomy translating into an increase in the relative bargaining power or the threat point utility of mothers is shown to reduce fertility and also to reduce child mortality rates. Paradoxically, the increase in female autonomy within a household may increase the disadvantage suffered by female children in that household with respect to survival.

Suggested Citation

  • Mukesh Eswaran, 2002. "The empowerment of women, fertility, and child mortality: Towards a theoretical analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(3), pages 433-454.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:15:y:2002:i:3:p:433-454 Note: Received: 4 August 1999/Accepted: 7 September 2000
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P. & Michael, Robert T., 1988. "Allocation of Income within the Household," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226469669.
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    4. Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1984. "An Estimable Dynamic Stochastic Model of Fertility and Child Mortality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 852-874, October.
    5. Edin, P.A. & Holmlund, B., 1992. "The Swedish Wage Structure : The Rise and Fall of Solidarity Policy," Papers 1992-13, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
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    7. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 11-44, August.
    8. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child mortality · fertility · empowerment of women;

    JEL classification:

    • D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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