HIV Does Matter for Fertility: Human Capital, Mortality and Family Size
In this paper we provide new evidence regarding the long-term impact of HIV on fertility and economic development. We develop a theoretical framework where parents optimally allocate their resources between child-rearing and consumption, and incorporate both infant and adult mortality in their fertility decision. The model predicts an ambiguous overall effect of HIV on fertility, but suggests that the optimal fertility adjustment to HIV is larger for more educated parents than for parents with little or no formal education. We test this prediction using a novel data set combining historical individual level data from World Fertility Surveys (WFS) with recent data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) including nationally representative HIV-testing. The result that more educated women reduce fertility more than uneducated mothers in the presence of HIV appears to hold both in the longitudinal and the cross-sectional analysis. Our results imply that HIV is unlikely to have a significant effect on population size, but will negatively affect countries’ long term economic prospects through an adverse shift in the population’s human capital composition.
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