Does Fertility Track Mortality? A Natural Experimental Test of the Evolutionary Theory

Shige Song, Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY)

Using retrospective birth history information collected in a nationally representative sample survey in China in 2001, the proposed study aims to identify the causal effect of changes in infant mortality pattern on women's fertility behavior and intention. The rapid spread of the highly effective prenatal care service during the 1970s and 1980s in China, which accounts for a significant proportion of the continuous decline in infant mortality during the same period, creates an opportunity to tackle the endogeneity in the relationship between the mortality and fertility changes. Because prenatal care can drastically decrease the risk of infant mortality but does not directly influence fertility, prenatal care use can be used an instrument to estimate the causal effect of infant and child mortality on women's fertility preference and behavior. Such knowledge may be the key missing link toward an integrated evolutionary explanation of the demographic transition.

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Presented in Poster Session 7: Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health