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The effect of culture on the fertility decisions of immigrant women in the United States

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  • Marcén, Miriam
  • Molina, Jose Alberto
  • Morales, Marina

Abstract

This paper examines whether culture plays a role in the number of children born. To explore this issue, we use data on immigrant women who arrived in the United States under 6 years old. Since all these women are resident in the same country from their early lives, and grew up under the same laws, institutions, and economic conditions, then the differences between them by country of origin may be due to cultural differences, as the epidemiological approach suggests. Following that approach, we identify the cultural effect, exploiting variations in the mean number of children born by country of origin, using data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series International that allows us to measure more precisely the cultural proxy by age, education level, and employment status. Results show that the home-country mean number of children born has a positive and statistically significant relationship to the number of children born of immigrants living in the US, suggesting that culture is important. Our findings are robust to the introduction of several home country variables, and to the use of different subsamples. Our results are maintained when we control for unobservable characteristics by country of origin. Additionally, we extend this work to an analysis of both the decision to have children and the number of children born, finding again that culture appears to play a significant role.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcén, Miriam & Molina, Jose Alberto & Morales, Marina, 2016. "The effect of culture on the fertility decisions of immigrant women in the United States," MPRA Paper 75511, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:75511
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcén, Miriam & Morales, Marina, 2017. "Remain single or live together: Does culture matter?," MPRA Paper 77623, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Culture; Immigrants; Number of children born;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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