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Gender Gaps in Completed Fertility

Vera Molitor, Michele Tertilt (), Alice Schoonbroodt () and Erica Field
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Vera Molitor: University of Mannheim
Erica Field: Duke University

No 444, 2016 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics

Abstract: The most commonly used measure of reproductive behavior is the total fertility rate, which is a measure of the number of children born per woman. Very little work exists measuring the fertility behavior of men. In this paper we use survey data from several recent waves of the DHS in eight sub-Saharan African countries in which men and women were each asked about their reproductive histories. We document a number of interesting differences in fertility outcomes of men and women. First, we find that on average men have higher fertility rates than women. We show that polygyny is an important factor. Second, we find a higher variance in fertility rates for men than for women. This means women are more similar to each other in reproductive behavior than men are. Third, we find that differences in the desire to have children can largely be explained by differences in realized fertility. This implies that differences in preferences do not necessarily lead to conflict, as men and women can realize their fertility individually. Finally, we find that for men, the demographic transition started earlier and was steeper than for women. These novel facts are useful when building theories of fertility behavior.

Date: 2016
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Journal Article: Gender Gaps in Completed Fertility (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Gender Gaps in Completed Fertility (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Gender Gaps in Completed Fertility (2015) Downloads
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