Economic and Demographic Family Behavior in Malaysia

A Conceptual Framework for Analysis

by William Butz, Julie DaVanzo

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A design for analyzing economic and institutional influences on demographic behavior, developed as part of a project to identify factors within the domain of public policy influence which affect birth spacing and family size in Malaysia. The design provides a means of estimating the magnitude of key socioeconomic relationships among important facets of family activity, which will then be investigated through econometric analyses of models that describe the joint influence of those factors on the outcomes of interest. Based on the design, seven hypotheses are generated that provide useful insights. The hypotheses are formulated as equations whose coefficients can be estimated by regression techniques. The report shows how the hypotheses can be made operational and tested with retrospective and longitudinal household survey data. It also indicates avenues of potential policy influence and ways that theory and data together can be assets to strengthen the base for policy choices within a country.

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