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Decomposing Fertility Differences Across World Regions and Over Time: Is Improved Health More Important than Women's Schooling?


Jere Behrman


University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Suzanne Duryea


Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Miguel Szekely


Independent

September 1999

IDB-OCE Working Paper No. 406

Abstract:     
There is a recent renewal of interest in the relation between shifts in age structures of populations and various economic outcomes. These shifts are triggered by changes in fertility and mortality that take place some years before becoming apparent in the standard age structure and that may create windows of opportunity for subsequent development. A large number of countries in the world are still experiencing, or probably about to experience, fertility declines. This paper first characterizes differences in fertility and mortality and in related dependency ratios across regions and over time. The paper then uses a panel of 96 countries covering the period 1965-1995 to decompose the differences in fertility rates between developed and developing countries and the differences in fertility between 1960 and 1995 for several developing regions and for 22 individual countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region. These decompositions indicate that the main correlates of fertility differences across space and over time are female schooling and health, with the former having larger associations with differential fertility among regions/countries at a point of time and the latter having larger associations with fertility declines over time. This suggests that the importance of associations of increased female schooling relative to those of improved health may be overstated in the literature, which is substantially based on inferring longitudinal relations from cross-sectional data.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

JEL Classification: J11, J13, O11

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Date posted: April 25, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Behrman, Jere and Duryea, Suzanne and Szekely, Miguel, Decomposing Fertility Differences Across World Regions and Over Time: Is Improved Health More Important than Women's Schooling? (September 1999). IDB-OCE Working Paper No. 406. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=223583 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.223583

Contact Information

Jere R. Behrman
University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)
Suzanne Duryea
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )
1300 New York Avenue, NW
Research Department
Washington, DC 20577
United States
Miguel Szekely (Contact Author)
Independent
No Address Available
Feedback to SSRN


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References:  48
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