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Religion as a Determinant of Marital Fertility

  • Lehrer, Evelyn L

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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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (1996)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 173-96

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:9:y:1996:i:2:p:173-96
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  1. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-08, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  2. 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.
  3. Lee Lillard & Linda Waite, 1993. "A joint model of marital childbearing and marital disruption," Demography, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 653-681, November.
  4. Evelyn Lehrer & Carmel Chiswick, 1993. "Religion as a determinant of marital stability," Demography, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 385-404, August.
  5. 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.
  6. Evelyn Lehrer & Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman & J. Leasure, 1996. "Comment on “a theory of the value of children”," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 133-136, February.
  7. 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 1141-87, December.
  8. William Mosher & Linda Williams & David Johnson, 1992. "Religion and fertility in the United States: New patterns," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 199-214, May.
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