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