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  1. 1

    Consumption smoothing, migration and marriage: evidence from rural India.

    Rosenzweig MR; Stark O

    Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University, Migration and Development Program, 1987 Sep. 27 p. (Migration and Development Program Discussion Paper No. 32)

    The marital arrangements among households in rural India were examined to explain mobility patterns. It was hypothesized that the marrying out of daughters to locationally distant, dispersed yet kinship-related households is a manifestation of implicit interhousehold contractual arrangements aimed at mitigating income risks and facilitating consumption smoothing in an environment characterized by information costs and spatially covariant risks. The study's data were drawn from a longitudinal survey of households in 3 farm villages in Southern India. Of the 115 marriages included in this sample, only 14 (12%) involved partners who were not also relatives. In 82% of the marriages involving heads of households, the head and his wife had parents with either the same dry or irrigated landholdings or with the same parental schooling levels. The close matching of marital partners with respect to origin household characteristics and the diversity and distance characterizing the marriages were consistent with the hypothesis that marital arrangements influence a household's ability to smooth its consumption when confronted with highly variable income streams. The marital status of adult women in the household, and the interhousehold bonds created by marriage, is the decisive factor contributing to income risk mitigation. Marriage with migration contributed to a reduction in variability in consumption. Households exposed to higher income risks were more likely to invest in longer distance migration-marriage arrangements. The hypothesized and observed marriage-migration patterns contradict standard models of marriage or migration that are concerned primarily with search costs and static income gains.
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  2. 2

    [Is population growth the source of misery in the Third World?] La croissance demographique est-elle responsable de la misere du Tiers Monde.

    Chesnais JC

    Recherche. 1985 Nov; 16(171):1380-1.

    The developing countries experienced their most rapid demographic growth of 2-4% per year between 1950-80, with the highest rates occurring in the 1960s and a slight easing taking place in the 1970s. The most direct way of assessing whether this extraordinary demographic growth impeded economic development is to calculate the correlation between demographic growth and the per capita gross national product (GNP) at constant prices. The average annual growth of GNP in developing countries from 1950-75 was 3.4% compared to 3.2% in developed countries, while the rates from 1975-80 were 2.4% and 2.8% respectively. The average rate of growth of GNP in developed countries was only about 2% in the 1st half of this century, while that in many developing countries has been zero for centuries. The postwar demographic explosion therefore coincided with an unprecedented economic explosion. Between 1950-80, the population of India and China increased by about 800 million persons, but economic progress even in India was substantial. China and Pakistan saw a doubling and Mexico and Brazil a tripling of per capita income. This undeniable economic progress was not achieved without some cost; it was accompanied by increased debt and has been very unequal between countries. Outside of some extreme cases like Bangladesh where demographic pressure threatens the equilibrium between population and resources, it is most often the less densely populated African countries which are most backward. Factors of underdevelopment appear to be more often political instability and strategic-errors such as insufficient investment in agriculture and general infrastructure than demographic constraints. The correlation between mortality decline and increased per capita income was very strong, especially in the 1950s and 1960s and especially in Japan and the newly industrializing Asian countries and Latin America. The growth of income permitted improved nutrition and education of the population, which in turn stimulated growth of income and population. In view of the data, there appears to be a contradiction between the historic reality and the pessimism of postwar economic literature. The error appears to have arisen because of a failure to recognize that not only do economic and demographic growth have common structural roots, but they are susceptible to dynamic and cumulative interaction. Also, the overattention to high fertility led to neglect of the stimulating role of mortality decline, which is closely related to economic development. Growth of income and growth of population are a priori associated: they are 2 facets of the same development process.
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