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How do epidemics induce behavioral changes?

Listed author(s):
  • BOUCEKKINE, Raouf
  • DESBORDES, Rodolphe
  • LATZER, Hélène

This paper develops a theory of optimal fertility behavior under mortality shocks. In an OLG model, young adults determine their optimal fertility, labor supply and life-cycle consumption with both exogenous child and adult mortality risks. We show that a rise in adult mortality exerts an ambiguous effect on both net and total fertility in a general equilibrium framework, while child mortality shocks unambiguously lead to a rise in total fertility, leaving net fertility unchanged. We complement our theory with an empirical analysis using a sample of 39 Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries over the 1980–2004 period, examining the overall effects of the child and adult mortality channels on both total and net fertility. We find child mortality to exert a robust, positive impact on total fertility but no impact on net fertility, whereas a rise in adult mortality is found to negatively influence both total and net fertility. Given the particular demographic profile of the HIV/AIDS epidemic (killing essentially young, active adults), we then conclude in favor of an unambiguous negative effect of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on net fertility in SSA.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10887-009-9042-1
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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number 2160.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:2160
Note: In : Journal of Economic Growth, 14, 233-264, 2009
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