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Liberte, egalite, fraternite : exploring the role of governance in fertility decline

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  • Das Gupta, Monica

Abstract

Within a short span of human history, a secular decline in fertility has taken place around the world. The timing and pace of this decline correspond broadly with changes in sociopolitical institutions indifferent parts of the world. The author hypothesizes that this shift in childbearing behavior is related to cognitive changes wrought by the move from deeply hierarchical sociopolitical institutions to more egalitarian institutions of modern governance. These changes have enabled socioeconomic mobility and improved people's ability to shape their own lives, internalizing more of the positive and negative implications of their decisions, including those about childbearing. Recent work in development economics argues that policies that foster local accountability are the most conducive to rapid development. The author argues that they also foster personal efficacy and rapid fertility decline. If true, her hypotheses indicate that one can expect development and fertility decline to be associated. Some policy environments may lead to"win-win"situations of rapid developments and fertility decline, while others may generate"lose-lose"outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Das Gupta, Monica, 1999. "Liberte, egalite, fraternite : exploring the role of governance in fertility decline," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2126, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2126
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
    2. Dan Schendel & Derek Channon & Ari Ginsberg & N. Venkatraman, 1992. "Abstract," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(S1), pages 37-53, June.
    3. Pollak, R.A. & Watkins, S.C., 1993. "Cultural and Economic Approaches to Fertility : A Proper Marriage or a Mesalliance?," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 93-11, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    4. Pranab Bardhan, 1996. "Decentralised Development," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 31(2), pages 139-156, July.
    5. Wade, Robert, 1985. "The market for public office: Why the Indian state is not better at development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 467-497, April.
    6. Isham, Jonathan & Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Does Participation Improve Performance? Establishing Causality with Subjective Data," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 9(2), pages 175-200, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2011. "Corruption and Fertility: Evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Economics and Econometrics, Economics and Econometrics Society, pages 34-57.
    2. Arup Maharatna, 2008. "How can electoral success be sustained by a ‘lagging development’ regime?," Working Papers id:1505, eSocialSciences.

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