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  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    On the diffusion of international social values: institutionalization and demographic transition.

    Kirby EG; Kirby SL

    SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY. 1996 Jun; 77(2):289-300.

    This study focuses on the institutionalization of the dominant international belief of limited population growth by individual nations. The authors seek evidence relating a decrease in population growth rates to the institutionalization of world views. Using measures of governmental opinions maintained by the UN as well as crude growth rates, the views of 141 nations toward their own population growth are examined and compared to their actual growth rates. Evidence was found that, overall, the views of the world's nations toward perceived population growth within their countries are increasingly reflecting the dominant world view that population growth rates are too high. While economic development impacts population growth, there is evidence that institutionalization of world opinion also impacts population growth. By augmenting traditional demographic theory with institutional theory, a clearer understanding of this phenomenon is possible. These findings provide valuable insights into the diffusion of social values at the global level. If, as this study suggests, world values are being institutionalized, it is likely that worldwide crude growth rates will continue to decline. (author's)
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  2. 2

    Catholicism and the economics of fertility.

    Sander W

    [Unpublished] 1991. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Washington, D.C., March 21-23, 1991. 15, [16] p.

    The effect of Catholicism on fertility in the US is examined. Data came from the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey, 1973-1989. Asserting that many such studies are fundamentally flawed by failing to understand and account for fertility norm differences between ex-Catholics and new Catholics, and whether or not he or she is of current Catholic status are considered. Theoretical economics and religion as related to fertility are discussed. Assuming out-migrants from Catholicism to have lower than average interest in childbearing, and in-migrants to have higher than average interests, current status as Catholic inflates an already positive effect on fertility. The study also found Catholic norms to have a highly significant positive effect on fertility for respondents born, prior to 1920. Fertility variations after that period are weakly related to Catholic upbringing. The US fertility transition is claimed to be partly due to changing Catholic fertility norms, and the direct effect of women's earnings has been possibly overestimated by economists. Challenging the strength of women's earnings as a factor affecting fertility trends, it is suggested that economic variables most likely affect norms which in turn affect fertility. Estimates calculated are presented in tabular format.
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  3. 3

    Motivation and legitimation: living conditions, social control and the reproductive regimes in Belgium and France from the 16th through the 19th century.

    Lesthaeghe R

    Brussels, Belgium, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Interuniversity Programme in Demography, 1989. 46 p. (IPD Working Paper 1989-2)

    The economic, political, and social records of Belgium and France from the 16th through the 19th century were analyzed, and the influence of material living conditions, strategies of property transmission, and attempts by elites to alter popular culture on nuptiality and marital fertility during the period are detailed. Reasons for France's early marital fertility decline are compared with Belgium's more delayed transition. It is stressed that rising household income is not the only path the change. There are many paths to marital fertility transition. Historical analysis reveals that classic factors believed to lead to demographic transition do not explain the first half of the French fertility decline. Demographic transition is also possible as a result of economic and political crises forcing ideological overhaul. Explaining the nature of these alternate paths to change, the role of institutional actors such as religious and political agencies in competing for power and influence to impose and defend their ideologies is pointed out. These are active and dynamic agencies capable of altering strategies when required. Such agencies have had a significant impact on the course of demographic history in the 2 countries examined. Models of demographic change must incorporate the effect of these institutional agencies. The need for joint motivation and legitimation in effecting transition is discussed.
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  4. 4

    Finland's low fertility and the desired recovery.

    Auvinen R


    The fertility level in Finland, after decades of decline, has stabilized at 1.6; attitudes and practical obstacles to reversing this negative growth are presented. The low fertility in Finland has a long history and complex causation, but is now so entrenched as to be embedded in the culture. People, women included, think as individuals, and consider family development to be their private business. The small family is such an accepted cultural norm that political speeches about raising fertility are considered inappropriate. The lack of adequate affordable housing, the high taxation and indebtedness experienced by young people, and the lack of institutional support, especially day care are practical factors preventing childbearing. Many women are used to having a job and being independent, and do not relish taking on double labor. Others have had bad experiences with poor day care and housing arrangements with 1 child and do not want to repeat it with another. The breakup of traditional extended families has eliminated child care, but also raises the question how elderly people will be cared for. While there is an evident lack of political solutions to the problem of population structure, even larger is the problem of social renewal, of creating a new society where children will fit in.
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