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Close kin influences on fertility behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Robert G. White
  • Laura Bernardi

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

Abstract

Family members are uniquely situated to influence the decision-making of their kin in nearly every facet of life. We examine the importance of social interactions in fertility outcomes by assessing family members’ scope of influence on their fellow kin’s fertility behavior. With the unique KASS genealogical dataset from eight countries in Europe, we study the effects of family members’ fertility outcomes on individual fertility to assess the presence and the extent of inter-generational transmission of fertility behaviors and siblings’ influences on fertility outcomes. We find only limited evidence of the inter-generational transmission of fertility behaviors, but a relatively important effect of siblings for individual fertility. Rather than parents, siblings’ influences appear to constitute the largest share of familial influences on fertility outcomes. We also find that among siblings, women’s fertility is more subject to the influences of their sisters. These findings indicate the relative importance of close kin influences on individual fertility and demonstrate the consequences of family structure for fertility change.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert G. White & Laura Bernardi, 2008. "Close kin influences on fertility behavior," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2008-024, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2008-024
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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2008-024.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2001. "Fertility and Social Interaction: An Economic Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199244591.
    2. Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler & Susan Watkins, 2002. "Social networks and changes in contraceptive use over time: Evidence from a longitudinal study in rural Kenya," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 39(4), pages 713-738, November.
    3. Pedro Mira & Namkee Ahn, 2002. "A note on the changing relationship between fertility and female employment rates in developed countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(4), pages 667-682.
    4. Henriette Engelhardt & Tomas Kögel & Alexia Prskawetz, 2001. "Fertility and women´s employment reconsidered: A macro-level time-series analysis for developed countries, 1960-2000," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-021, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere R. Behrman & Susan Cotts Watkins, 1999. "The structure of social networks and fertility decisions: evidence from S. Nyanza District, Kenya," MPIDR Working Papers WP-1999-005, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    6. Tomas Frejka & Jean-Paul Sardon, 2006. "First birth trends in developed countries: a cohort analysis," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2006-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    7. William Axinn & Marin Clarkberg & Arland Thornton, 1994. "Family influences on family size preferences," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(1), pages 65-79, February.
    8. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere Behrman & Susan Watkins, 2001. "The density of social networks and fertility decisions: evidence from south nyanza district, kenya," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(1), pages 43-58, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Europe; family demography; family size; fertility; kinship; sisters;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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