Do Mothers-in-Law Influence Fertility Preferences of Daughters-in-Law: Evidence from Rural Bihar, India

Abhishek Kumar, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Several studies from developed countries have demonstrated important effects of parents’ fertility behavior on their children’s fertility preferences and behavior; but little is known on such issue from developing countries. This study advances our understanding of this inter-generational influence on fertility in context of developing countries, by extending the theoretical model to include parental preferences, sibling behavior. Using primary data of pair of daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law from rural Bihar, we test the effect of both mothers-in-law’s and mothers’ fertility and preference for daughters-in-law/daughters fertility. We also examined the influence of siblings’ fertility on the fertility preferences of daughters-in-law. Although both, mothers-in-law/mothers fertility and preferences, influence childbearing preferences of daughters-in-law, mothers’ actual fertility and preferences for their daughter’s fertility have the stronger and more proximate effects. Own and spousal siblings’ fertility is an additional determinant of daughters-in-law‘s family size preferences. Mothers’ preferences continue to influence their children’s preferences through early adulthood.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility Intentions and Behavior