This paper is concerned with marital fertility and focuses especially on the timing of responses triggered by experienced child mortality. The death of a child is immediately taken into account in the fertility decision process; it may have both instantaneous and lagged, semi-parametric effects on the hazard of a conception. The authors present a rigorous, new method to derive replacement rates from hazard model estimates. The analysis is applied to micro-data from Peninsular Malaysia over the period 1950-1988. Replacement rates ranged from near-zero to 0.5, depending on the child's sex, parity, age at death and ethnicity. Even though infant and child mortality rates have dropped dramatically over the period of this sample, child replacement has been only a minor contributing factor to the fertility decline. Women in the Chinese subpopulation exhibit son preference in their fertility behavior, whereas Malay women do not exhibit preference for a particular gender composition of their offspring.
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