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Social Interactions and Fertility in Developing Countries

Author

Listed:
  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • David E. Bloom & David Canning & Isabel Günther & Sebastian Linnemayr, 2008. "Social Interactions and Fertility in Developing Countries," PGDA Working Papers 3408, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  • Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:3408
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    File URL: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda/WorkingPapers/2008/PGDA_WP_34.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. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose Scheinkman, 2000. "Non-Market Interactions," NBER Working Papers 8053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
    4. Durlauf,S.N. & Walker,J.R., 1999. "Social interaction and fertility transitions," Working papers 28, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    5. 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, September.
    6. 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 163-178, August.
    7. Randall Olsen, 1980. "Estimating the effect of child mortality on the number of births," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 17(4), pages 429-443, November.
    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. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Federico Ciliberto & Amalia R. Miller & Helena Skyt Nielsen & Marianne Simonsen, 2016. "Playing The Fertility Game At Work: An Equilibrium Model Of Peer Effects," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57, pages 827-856, August.
    2. Karin Monstad & Carol Propper & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Is teenage motherhood contagious? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/262, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Auld, M. Christopher, 2011. "Effect of large-scale social interactions on body weight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 303-316, March.
    4. Markus Kotte & Volker Ludwig, 2011. "Intergenerational transmission of fertility intentions and behaviour in Germany: the role of contagion," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 9(1), pages 207-226.

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    Keywords

    demography; growth; age structure; population; economy.;

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