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Religion as a determinant of marital fertility

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  • Evelyn Lehrer

Abstract

This paper develops hypotheses about the effects of husbands' and wives' religious affiliations on fertility. The hypotheses are based on two central ideas. First, religions differ in their fertility norms and corresponding tradeoffs between the quality and quantity of children; differences in religious beliefs between husband and wife may thus lead to conflict regarding fertility decisions and possible resolution through bargaining. Second, a low level of religious compatibility between the spouses may raise the expected probability of marital dissolution and thereby decrease the optimal amount of investments in spouse-specific human capital. Analyses of data from the 1987-88 National Survey of Families and Households conducted in the United States suggest that both of these effects play important roles in explaining the observed linkages between the religious composition of unions and fertility behavior.
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Suggested Citation

  • Evelyn Lehrer, 1996. "Religion as a determinant of marital fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(2), pages 173-196, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:9:y:1996:i:2:p:173-196
    DOI: 10.1007/s001480050013
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. William Mosher & Linda Williams & David Johnson, 1992. "Religion and fertility in the United States: New patterns," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(2), pages 199-214, May.
    2. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    3. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
    4. Lee Lillard & Linda Waite, 1993. "A joint model of marital childbearing and marital disruption," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(4), pages 653-681, November.
    5. Evelyn Lehrer & Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman & J. Leasure, 1996. "Comment on “a theory of the value of children”," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 33(1), pages 133-136, February.
    6. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
    7. Evelyn Lehrer & Carmel Chiswick, 1993. "Religion as a determinant of marital stability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(3), pages 385-404, August.
    8. Marc Nerlove & Assaf Razin, 1979. "Child Spacing and Numbers: An Empirical Analysis," Discussion Papers 371, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Jl; Jll; J13; Religion; Fertility; marriage;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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