Improving Empirical Estimation of Demographic Drivers: Fertility, Child Mortality & Malaria Ecology

37 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2010

See all articles by Gordon C. McCord

Gordon C. McCord

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - School of Global Policy & Strategy

Dalton Conley

New York University (NYU) - Department of Sociology; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Columbia University - Columbia Earth Institute; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 23, 2010

Abstract

Much of Africa has yet to go through a demographic transition; this Malthusian crisis of high mortality, high fertility, rapid population growth and chronic extreme poverty has been attributed to factors including the status of women, pro-natalist policies, and poverty itself. Large uncertainty exists among demographers as to the relative importance of these factors, mostly since econometric estimation is complicated by the endogeneity of fertility to other variables of interest. We attempt to improve estimation of the effect of the child mortality variable on fertility by deploying exogenous variation in the ecology of malaria transmission. Results show that child mortality is a powerfully robust driver of fertility behavior. Meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing 1990 child mortality rates by 66% in sub-Saharan Africa would translate into a reduction of total fertility rates from around 6.3 in 1990 to 3.3, more than halfway towards achieving replacement fertility levels of 2.1.

Keywords: fertility, mortality, malaria, demography, human ecology

JEL Classification: J13, I10, O15

Suggested Citation

McCord, Gordon C. and Conley, Dalton and Sachs, Jeffrey D., Improving Empirical Estimation of Demographic Drivers: Fertility, Child Mortality & Malaria Ecology (July 23, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1647901 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1647901

Gordon C. McCord (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - School of Global Policy & Strategy ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive #0519
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

Dalton Conley

New York University (NYU) - Department of Sociology ( email )

New York, NY 10012
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Columbia University - Columbia Earth Institute ( email )

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212-854-8702 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

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