A framework for the Study of Fertility Determinants

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Citation: Bulatao, R. A., Lee, R. A framework for the Study of Fertility Determinants.



Tagged: uw-madison (RSS), wisconsin (RSS), sociology (RSS), demography (RSS), prelim (RSS), qual (RSS), WisconsinDemographyPrelimAugust2009 (RSS)


Summary:

Notes: Fertility involves both biology and individual choice, the former modified by cultural patterns and the latter strongly influenced by economic and social conditions. The framework proposed here considers the demand side (individual choice + economic and social constraints), supply side (biology and culture) and finally the costs of regulation (access and use) through which choices are made effective. In this framework supply and demand refers to SURVIVING CHILDREN, rather than to BIRTHS. These will differ because of infant and child mortality. It is assumed that parents make choices mainly among alternative family sizes rather than among alternative number of births. The supply side is the number of children that a couple would have if they made no deliberate attempt to limitation. SUPPLY DEPENDS ON NUMBER OF BIRTHS AND CHANCES OF SURVIVAL. The supply side is therefore brings the concept of natural fertility that is defined as the fertility of a population that makes no deliberate effort to limit births. The natural fertility was later refined to refer to fertility in the absence of parity-dependent birth control. The specification that natural fertility be free of parity-dependent control suggests that the shape of the age-specific schedule of marital fertility will be determined by the decline of fecundity with age. Natural fertility depends partially on cultural practices relating to such behaviors as intercourse, abstinence, and breastfeeding. SUPPLY IS NOT PURELY BIOLOGICAL. Five major influences on natural fertility can be identified: 1) Postpartum infecundability Taboos and breastfeeding are the main influences. Breastfeeding depresses fertility by delaying the return of ovulation following a birth and taboos reduce exposure. The practice of postnatal abstinence is often linked to lactation. 2) Waiting time to conception depends largely on frequency of intercourse. Fecundity (ovulation) is also important. 3) Intrauterine mortality influenced by age and some diseases 4) Permanent sterility 5) Entry into the reproductive span Demand side depends on the desired number of children. Demand can be seen as determined by the interplay between TASTES and CONSTRAINTS, apart from the constraints of supply and fertility regulation costs. A couple is assumed to have some preferences between children and other goods. QUALITY AND QUANTITY of children are considered. Fertility regulation involves costs of access and use. Therefore, costs include health risks, social costs, such as the fear of violating social norms, and psychic costs, such as those relating to engaging in behavior that it is unfamiliar, unpleasant, or considered morally questionable. e Motivation to control is also an issue. Higher regulation costs should make actual control less likely, though high costs could conceivably be overcome if motivation were very strong. DETERMINANTS OF SUPPLY, DEMAND AND REGULATION a) REPRODUCTIVE HISTORY nuptiality patterns (marriages, divorces and remarriage) and childbearing experience affects tastes and perceptions about the advantages and disadvantages of parenthood. b) SOCIOECONOMIC, DEMOGRAPHIC AND BIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS - Education, income, urban residence, labor force participation (women), religion, age, health status, ethnicity. c) SOCIETY AND CULTURE roles in society and social stratification, norms and values and policies. LEVEL OF ANALYSIS: COUPLE OR HOUSEHOLD. . Framework developed from the perspective of married couples. Unmarried frequency of intercourse is an issue.