Abstract

The economic theory of fertility postulates that income and prices, broadly defined, are important determinants of family size. What follows is an attempt to test this theory against the behavior of 717 predominantly urban households in Sierra Leone. Husband’s education is used as a proxy for income; the “price” of a child is accounted for by wife’s education and wife’s wage rate. Other important variables are wife’s age, a measure of child “quality,” wife’s age at first birth, and child mortality. The findings of the study tend to lend support to the economic theory of fertility but contain certain peculiarities which indicate a need for further research.

This content is only available as a PDF.

References

Becker, Gary S. (
1960
).
National Bureau of Economic Research
An Economic Analysis of Fertility
Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries
(pp.
209
230
).
Princeton
:
Princeton University Press
.
Becker, Gary S. (
1965
).
A Theory of the Allocation of Time
.
Economic Journal
,
75
,
493
517
. 10.2307/2228949
Becker, Gary S., and H. Gregg Lewis. 1973. On the Interaction between Quantity and Quality of Children. In Theodore W. Schultz (ed.), New Economic Approaches to Fertility: Proceedings of a Conference, June 8–9, 1972. Journal of Political Economy. 81:279–288.
Ben-Porath, Yoram. 1973. Economic Analysis of Fertility in Israel: Point and Counterpoint. In Theodore W. Schultz (ed.), New Economic Approaches to Fertility: Proceedings of a Conference, June 8–9, 1972. Journal of Political Economy 81:202–233.
Burch, Thomas K, & Gendell, Murray (
1971
).
Extended Family Structure and Fertility: Some Conceptual and Methodological Issues
. In Polgar, Steven (Ed.),
Culture and Population
(pp.
87
104
).
Cambridge
:
Schenkman Publishing Co
.
Caldwell, John C. (
1966
).
Family Formation and Limitation in Ghana: A Study of the Residents of Economically Superior Urban Areas
. In Berelson, Bernard (Ed.),
Family Planning and Population Programs: A Review of World Developments
(pp.
595
613
).
Chicago
:
University of Chicago Press
.
Caldwell, John C. (
1967
).
Fertility Attitudes in Three Economically Contrasting. Rural Regions of Ghana
.
Economic Development and Cultural Change
,
15
,
217
238
. 10.1086/450218
Caldwell, John C. et al (
1967
).
Population Prospects and Policy. Chapter IV
. In Birmingham, Walter et al (Ed.),
A Study of Contemporary Ghana. Vol. II
.
Evanston
:
Northwestern University Press
.
Caldwell, John C. (
1968
).
The Control of Family Size in Tropical Africa
.
Demography
,
5
,
598
619
. 10.2307/2060250
Caldwell, John C. (
1968
).
Population Growth and Family Change in Tropical Africa
.
Canberra
:
Australian National University Press
.
Da Vanzo, Julie (
1972
).
The Determinants of Family Formation in Chile: 1960
.
Santa Monica
:
Rand Corporation
.
Dow, Thomas (
1969
).
Fertility in Sierra Leone
.
Sierra Leone Geographical Journal
,
13
,
3
12
.
Dow, Thomas (
1971
).
Fertility and Family Planning in Sierra Leone
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
2
,
153
165
. 10.2307/1964768
Da Vanzo, Julie (
1971
).
Family Planning Patterns in Sierra Leone
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
2
,
211
222
. 10.2307/1964931
Duesenberry, James (
1960
).
National Bureau of Economic Research
Comment
Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries
(pp.
231
234
).
Princeton
:
Princeton University Press
.
Easterlin, Richard (
1969
).
Towards a Socio-Economic Theory of Fertility: A Survey of Recent Research on Economic Factors in American Fertility
. In Behrman, Richard E., & Corsa, Leslie (Eds.),
Fertility and Family Planning: A World View
(pp.
127
156
).
Ann Arbor
:
University of Michigan Press
.
Easterlin, Richard. 1973. Fertility and the Theory of Household Choice. Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1973. (Presented under the title Economic Factors in Fertility.)
Freedman, Deborah S. (
1963
).
The Relation of Economic Status to Fertility
.
American Economic Review
,
53
,
414
426
.
Geithman, David T., and Manuel J. Carvajal, 1972. An Economic Model of Fertility Differentials: Costa Rica, a Case in Point. Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Economic Association, Washington, D. C., 1972.
Gronau, Reuben. 1973. The Effect of Children on the Housewife’s Value of Time. In Theodore W. Schultz (ed.), New Economic Approaches to Fertility: Proceedings of a Conference, June 8–9, 1972. Journal of Political Economy 81:168–169.
Harman, Alvin J. (
1970
).
Fertility and Economic Behavior of Families in the Philippines
.
Santa Monica
:
The Rand Corporation
.
Heer, David M., and Hsin-Ying Wu. 1973. The Separate Effects of Individual Child Loss and Community Mortality Level upon Subsequent Fertility in Taiwan. Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, New Orleans, 1973.
Kmenta, J. (
1971
).
Elements of Econometrics
.
New York
:
Macmillan
.
Michael, Robert, and Edward Lazier. 1971. On the Shadow Price of Children. Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Econometric Society, New Orleans, 1971.
Michael, Robert T. 1973. Education and the Derived Demand for Children. In Theodore W. Schultz (ed.), New Economic Approaches to Fertility: Proceedings of a Conference, June 8–9, 1972. Journal of Political Economy 81:128–164.
Mincer, J. et al (
1963
).
Market Prices, Opportunity Costs, and Income Effects
. In Christ, C. et al (Ed.),
Measurement in Economics
(pp.
67
82
).
Palo Alto
:
Stanford University Press
.
Molnos, Angela (
1968
).
Attitudes Towards Family Planning in East Africa
.
London
:
Hurst Co
.
Namboodiri, N. K. (
1972
).
Some Observations on the Economic Framework for Fertility Analysis
.
Population Studies
,
26
,
185
206
. 10.2307/2173577
Nerlove, Marc, & Schultz, T. Paul (
1970
).
Love and Life between the Censuses
.
Santa Monica
:
The Rand Corporation
.
O’Hara, Donald J. (
1972
).
Changes in Mortality Levels and Decisions Regarding Children
.
Santa Monica
:
The Rand Corporation
.
Okun, Bernard (
1960
).
National Bureau of Economic Research
Comment
Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries
(pp.
235
240
).
Princeton
:
Princeton University Press
.
Ramanathan, R. (
1971
).
Measuring the Permanent Income of a Household: An Experiment in Methodology
.
Journal of Political Economy
,
79
,
177
185
. 10.1086/259732
Ross, Sue Goetz. 1973. The Effect of Economic Variables on the Timing and Spacing of Births. Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, New Orleans, 1973.
Sanderson, W., & Willis, R. J. (
1971
).
National Bureau of Economic Research
Economic Models of Fertility: Some Examples and Implications
51st Annual Report
(pp.
32
42
).
Princeton
:
Princeton University Press
.
Schultz, T. Paul. 1973. Explanation of Birth Rate Changes over Space and Time: A Study of Taiwan. In Theodore W. Schultz (ed.), New Economic Approaches to Fertility: Proceedings of a Conference, June 8–9, 1972. Journal of Political Economy 81:238–274.
Schultz, T. Paul (
1971
).
U. S. National Academy of Science
An Economic Perspective on Population Growth
Rapid Population Growth: Consequences and Policy Implications
(pp.
148
174
).
Baltimore
:
Johns Hopkins Press
.
Schultz, T. Paul (
1969
).
An Economic Model of Family Planning and Fertility
.
Journal of Political Economy
,
77
,
153
180
. 10.1086/259506
Schultz, T. Paul (
1969
).
The Effectiveness of Family Planning in Taiwan: A Proposal for a New Evaluation Methodology
.
Santa Monica
:
The Rand Corporation
.
Schultz, Theodore W. (ed.). 1973. New Economic Approaches to Fertility: Proceedings of a Conference, June 8–9, 1972. Journal of Political Economy 81:part II.
Household Survey of the Western Area, November 1966–January 1968
Household Expenditure and Income, Economic Characteristics, and Migration
. (
1968
).
Freetown
:
Sierra Leone
.
Stafford, Frank P. (
1969
).
Student Family Size in Relation to Current and Expected Income
.
Journal of Political Economy
,
77
,
471
477
. 10.1086/259533
Willis, R. J. 1973. A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility. In Theodore W. Schultz (ed.), New Economic Approaches to Fertility.: Proceedings of a Conference, June 8–9, 1972. Journal of Political Economy 81:14-64.
Willis, R. J. (
1971
).
The Economic Determinants of Fertility Behavior
.
Seattle
:
University of Washington
.