ERIC Number: ED178184
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Sep
Reference Count: 0
The Demand for Children in a "Natural Fertility" Population.
De Tray, Dennis
Two competing theories that attempt to explain observed variations in fertility behavior in developing societies are examined. The first of these, the supply or natural fertility theory, is based on supply considerations like fecundity, availability of contraceptives, post-partum amenoria, and a host of other intermediate fertility variables. This theory states that variations in fertility in noncontracepting populations are due to factors not directly related to couples' desires for children, but are, rather, the unintended consequences of decisions made in other areas of family behavior. The second theory, the demand or choice theory, is based on a fairly straightforward application of consumer demand theory to explain variations in the number of children couples have. Under this theory, costs of having and raising children, benefits that flow from children to parents, and resources available to couples are postulated to explain a significant proportion of the variation in numbers of children among families. In an attempt to determine which of these theories better fits the facts in Pakistan, data have been analyzed on the negative correlation between a wife's education and the number of children that she has. Although the analysis is flawed by certain methodological problems, results point toward the conclusion that demand models of fertility are as effective in explaining variations in children born in natural fertility populations as they are in contracepting populations. (Author/JMB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rand Corp., Santa Monica, CA.