Pension programs in LDCs: an indirect means to fertility reduction?

Entwisle B; Bollen KA
Ann Arbor, Univ. of Michigan, Population Studies Center, March 1981. 37 p. (Research Report No. 81-8)

Many demographers and sociologists believe that old age security represents an important motivation for large family sizes in less developed countries. National pension programs, by providing a substitute for security obtained from children, may encourage lower levels of fertility. In addition to invoking microeconomic arguments concerning the costs and benefits of children, the authors propose a complementary rationale for the inverse pension-fertility relationship based on family structure and norms. After developing an index to measure the scope of pension programs, its impact on fertility for a cross national sample of 73 developing countries is assessed. Family planning effort, curvilinear development effects, and regional differences are controlled. Results show that pension programs have a measureable effect in depressing fertility levels and in facilitating fertility decline. These effects are stronger at 15 year lag intervals than at 5 or 10 year intervals. Several reasons for the failure of previous cross national analyses to find consistent evidence for the pension-fertility relationship are suggested. (Author's modified)

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