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Fertility Regulation Behavior: Sequential Decisions in Tunisia

Olfa Frini and Christophe Muller ()
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Olfa Frini: ISCAE - Institut Supérieur de Comptabilité et d'Administration des Entreprises - Université de la Manouba [Tunisie]

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Abstract: Fertility analysis in Tunisia is revisited by focusing on regulation instruments instead of the number of births or the number of children alive. In Muslim societies, in which marriage is the exclusive acknowledged childbearing context, a woman may be seen as starting her fertility regulation period by postponing her age at marriage. Once married, she can adjust the delay before her first birth control. Then, she can decide whether or not to use a contraceptive, and finally she can select a specific contraception method. These four decisions, approximately arranged sequentially, may somewhat interact with the sequential stages of the woman's lifecycle and involve distinct motivations: (1) enrolment in higher education; (2) participation in the labor market; (3) a given fertility objective; and (4) dealing with middle age and old age health problems. Using data from the 2001 Tunisian PAP-FAM survey data, we estimate econometric models that provide an approximate description of fertility regulation as an outcome of the above sequential decisions. Accordingly, the significant effects of our explanatory variables gradually arise and vanish across the models as the women proceeds in her fertility regulation process. Our findings suggest that family network and sociocultural environment greatly shape the household preference for children. Although strict causality inference is beyond the possibilities of a single cross-section, the elicited correlations point to suggestive explanations that call for additional collection efforts to better capture lifecycle decisions of family members and the interactions of the extended family across this lifecycle.

Keywords: Tunisia; age at marriage; fertility regulation; contraceptive use; marriage duration at first birth control; contraception method (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ara
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