The Role of Perceived Opportunity in Fertility Choice: Evidence from Latin America
Center on Social and Economic Dynamics Working Paper No. 36
41 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2007
Date Written: June 2004
We hypothesize that the perceived returns to human capital and to income uncertainty are important determinants of recent cross-sectional variation in Latin American fertility. An empirical study of cross-country individual level data supports the hypothesis. In particular, we find that a higher perceived return to human capital and higher income uncertainty both lead to higher fertility, all else equal. We interpret the evidence to suggest that increasing economic opportunity in Latin America should be accompanied by institutions that provide social protection in order to promote further decreases in fertility toward the replacement rate.
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