Although Chinese folklore holds that the Dragon Year is an auspicious time to have a birth, notable increases in Chinese fertility in Dragon Years did not occur before 1976. Demographic explanations for the belated occurrence of this phenomenon rely on the notion of natural fertility: that is, couples’ lack of modem contraception had kept such decisions outside the realm of choice. The decomposition performed in this article, however, shows that the bulk of the 1976 Dragon Year baby boom on Taiwan was due to strategies that had always been available: marriage timing, abortion, and coital behavior. The natural fertility paradigm thus is insufficient in explaining the motivation for this behavior and should be complemented by institutional approaches.

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