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Social Interactions and Fertility in Developing Countries

  • David E. Bloom

    ()

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • David Canning

    ()

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Isabel Günther

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Sebastian Linnemayr

    ()

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

There is strong evidence that, in addition to individual and household characteristics, social interactions are important in determining fertility rates. Social interactions can lead to a multiplier effect where an individual’s ideas, and fertility choice, can affect the fertility decisions of others. We merge all available Demographic and Health Surveys to investigate the factors that influence both individual and average group fertility. We find that in the early phase of the fertility transition the impact of a woman’s education and experience of child death on her group’s average fertility are more than three times as large as their direct effect on her own fertility decision.

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File URL: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda/WorkingPapers/2008/PGDA_WP_34.pdf
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Paper provided by Program on the Global Demography of Aging in its series PGDA Working Papers with number 3408.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:3408
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda

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  1. Graham, Bryan S. & Hahn, Jinyong, 2005. "Identification and estimation of the linear-in-means model of social interactions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 1-6, July.
  2. Thomas LeGrand & Todd Koppenhaver & Nathalie Mondain & Sara Randall, 2003. "Reassessing the Insurance Effect: A Qualitative Analysis of Fertility Behavior in Senegal and Zimbabwe," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(3), pages 375-403.
  3. Randall Olsen, 1980. "Estimating the effect of child mortality on the number of births," Demography, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 429-443, November.
  4. Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2001. "Fertility and Social Interaction: An Economic Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199244591, March.
  5. Durlauf,S.N. & Walker,J.R., 1999. "Social interaction and fertility transitions," Working papers 28, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2001. "Non-Market Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1914, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
  8. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
  9. Ben-Porath, Yoram, 1976. "Fertility Response to Child Mortality: Micro Data from Israel," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S163-78, August.
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