Abstract

In this paper, we examine empirical evidence for a relation between infant and child mortality and fertility in Latin American countries from 1920 to 1990. We investigate the relation at several levels of aggregation and evaluate the extent to which evidence at one level is consistent with evidence at other levels. Wefirst examine aggregate cross-country information over several decades, a type of data typically used in past research on the topic. We also examine yearly series of births, deaths, infant deaths, and socioeconomic indicators for selected countries to track the association between short-term fluctuations in fertility and infant mortality. Finally, we use micro-level data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) to assess the relation between fertility and child mortality from individual reproductive histories. The evidence we assemble from these different data sets is remarkably consistent and suggests small positive effects of infant mortality onfertility. These effects, however, may be too small to support the hypothesis that changes in child mortality are of more than modest importance in the process offertility decline in Latin America in the late twentieth century.

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