Fertility Choice, Mortality Expectations, and Interdependent Preferences

An Empirical Analysis

Published In: European Economic Review, v. 63, Oct. 2013, p. 273-289

Posted on RAND.org on October 01, 2013

by David Canning, Isabel Günther, Sebastian Linnemayr, David Bloom

Read More

Access further information on this document at Elsevier

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

We investigate the empirical relationship between child mortality and fertility across 46 low and middle income countries. Specifically, we model the effect of mortality expectations and interdependent fertility preferences on fertility. The direct marginal effect of mortality expectations on fertility is larger than zero but less than unity. This implies that a decrease in mortality rates leads to a decrease in children born but to an increase in the number of surviving children and hence the rate of population growth. Taking into account interdependent fertility preferences, whereby an individual's fertility choice affects the fertility decisions of others, the marginal effect of mortality expectations on fertility becomes one. Hence, if we allow for both mortality expectations and the amplifying effect of interdependent fertility preferences, a decrease in child mortality has no net effect on the rate of population growth.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.