Female Age at First Marriage and Fertility Levels: A Comparison of Developed and Developing Countries
22 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2012
Date Written: October 19, 2012
Family is an important institution to a society for its effective functioning; hence factors affecting family formation decisions are important within the context of the Second Demographic Transition (SDT). This research focuses on two main changes which have occurred over the past decades; delayed entry into marriage and decline in fertility levels across both developed and developing countries. A cross-sectional study is undertaken for 32 developed and 34 developing countries to explain marriage timing and fertility level differences using both economic and cultural factors. The results indicate that economic development and females’ attitudes towards marriage are important determinants of marriage timing differences across developed nations. In developing countries, however, marriage timing is explained by the level of female education and religious denomination of countries. Religious denomination is also an important indicator of fertility level differences among both developed and developing nations. While fertility levels in developed nations are affected by female labour force participation, the extent of religiosity is important in explaining fertility levels in developing countries. Overall, the findings suggest that both economic and cultural factors are important in explaining differences in marriage timing and fertility levels albeit to different degrees.
Keywords: Singulate Mean Age at Marriage, marriage timing, TFR, fertility rates, cross sectional analysis, World Values Survey
JEL Classification: J12, J13, Z10
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