The relationship between development indicators and fertility is weaker than predicted by socioeconomic theories North Vietnam and Bangladesh have had much lower fertility than w predicted from their scores on development indicators.

Limits to the country’s capa absorb more agricultural workers were being reached, while nonagric employment was growing, with, for instance, over 10 percent of women 15-29 being employed in the garment industry (p. 73). Although seco school enrollments were still low, primary and secondary enrollmen both increased rapidly since the 1970s. The two leading reasons giv rural respondents for using family planning were “to allow investm children’s education and other family needs” and because a “large fam too expensive”; respondents treated these two reasons as interchangea 80). Significantly, “[n]early all thought that keeping children in scho harder for large families” (ibid.). The examples of North Vietnam and Bangladesh suggest that incenti to have fewer children can emerge in societies with low scores on d ment indicators. Of course, these two cases do not prove that all example fertility decline in low-scoring countries can be attributed to socioec change. But they do demonstrate that some fertility declines in such cou can be reconciled with at least some socioeconomic theories. Proposition 2: The relationship between development indicators and fertility is weaker than predicted by socioeconomic theories North Vietnam and Bangladesh have had much lower fertility than w predicted from their scores on development indicators. Other countries, as Syria and Iran, have had much higher fertility than would be pred Based mainly on a few such well-known outliers, the perception is spread among demographers and other social scientists that the cross-co relationship between development indicators and fertility is weak. C claim that a weak relationship is evidence against socioeconomic ex tions. These critics implicitly assume that socioeconomic theories pr tight relationship between development indicators and fertility. But the reasons to doubt such an assumption, as there are to question wheth relationship between development indicators and fertility should accu be characterized as weak. Two types of relationship between development and fertility hav considered in the demographic literature: the relationship between d ment and fertility levels, and the relationship between development a This content downloaded from 128.97.207.141 on Tue, 13 Mar 2018 19:27:58 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor.org/terms John Bryant 105 onset of fertility decline. The onset of fertility decline poses special meas ment problems, so the relationship with fertility levels is discussed first. The development indicators published by statistical agencies do no rectly measure the social and economic changes that are depicted by s ticated socioeconomic theories of fertility decline. Statistical agencies do n for instance, try to measure mobility strategies, the opportunity cost of spent with children, or the availability of nonfamilial mechanisms for ob ing labor and insuring against risk. Occasionally, social scientists can cons good proxies for these things: the Prussian dataset assembled by Galloway e (1994) is one such case. Normally, however, social scientists have to ma with general purpose development indicators such as gross domestic pr per capita, urbanization, and nonagricultural employment. Changes in development indicators are sometimes a poor guid changes in the incentives to limit fertility. Consider, for instance, a coun that enjoys a period of rapid economic development followed by an econom crisis. During the period of rapid development, employment in urban man facturing and services increases and education becomes the key to up mobility. After the crisis, aspirations change from the achievement of up mobility to the avoidance of downward mobility: “educated children ar less as a route to progress than as the only conceivable way to avoid furth impoverishment” (Watkins 2000: 744, describing Kenya). Despite the lo ing of aspirations, the imperative to invest in children’s education is at leas strong as it was during more prosperous times, while the difficulty of pa for these investments is even greater.

 

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