Volume 50, Part 1, 1996

Authors Robert D Retherford, Naohiro Ogawa and Satomi Sakatomo
Values and fertility change in Japan

This paper analyses how value change and economic and social change have jointly affected fertility in Japan since 1950, and especially since 1973 when fertility resumed declining after some 15 years at near-replacement level.

The resumption of fertility decline since 1973 has been driven primarily by underlying economic and social changes. Value change has tended to lag behind fertility change, and this lag has tended to be larger in Japan than in other advanced nations, primarily because underlying economic and social conditions have evolved more rapidly in Japan, and because it takes time for values to adjust to changes in underlying conditions.

Because of Japan's high degree of cultural homogeneity, values tend to be widely and quickly shared, so that under certain conditions value change tends to occur in spurts. In Japan, many of the more important value changes affecting fertility in recent decades are bound up with major educational and job gains by women, which have led to greater economic independence and more emphasis on values of individualism and equality between the sexes.

Author Zeng Yi
Is fertility in China in 1991-92 far below replacement level?

In this article it is shown that the extremely low fertility rates reported in China - well below replacement level - derived from the Chinese Survey in 1992 are false. Serious under-reporting of most recent births in China was caused by various factors, among them high pressure on officials to achieve the birth control targets set, the design of the questionnaire, and the employment of family planning workers as enumerators.

The most likely value of total fertility in 1991-92 was at or slightly below replacement level, ie between 2.1 and 2.2 children per woman. Even after adjustment for serious under-reporting, marital fertility fell substantially between 1990 and 1992, mainly as a consequence of tighter implementation of the strict family planning programme. Rapid economic development also contributed to the fall, as many young people in the country left farming to engage in non-agricultural activities locally, or migrated to urban areas, particularly in the southern part of the country, where economic boom conditions may also have contributed to reduced or delayed fertility. In conclusion, some suggestions for future research on population policy and its implementation in China are presented.
pp. 27-34

Authors Bhanu B Niraula and S Philip Morgan
Marriage formation, post-marital contact with natal kin and autonomy for women: evidence from two Nepali settings

We have conducted surveys specifically designed to study the autonomy/power of women in two Nepali settings. Setting I is in the hills, 75 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu; Setting II is in the tarai (plains) a few kilometers from the border with India. Previously the authors have shown that women in the hill setting have much more autonomy/power than women in the tarai setting. In this paper we focus on aspects of marriage formation and post-marital kin contact and their possible effects on women's autonomy/power. Specifically, we measure women's autonomy/power with indicators of women's freedom of movement and power in making household decisions.

We assess whether these indicators are influenced by aspects of mate selection and kinship, including patrilocal post-marital residence, arranged marriages, emphasis on the virginity of brides, village exogamy, dowry, and contact with natal kin. We show that marriage regimes differ substantially in the two settings. While marriages in both settings are usually arranged, some love marriages are reported in Setting I. Furthermore, the mean age at ceremonial marriage in the tarai (Setting II) is about 11.5 years compared with 14.5 in the hills (Setting I). In some cases, we find that individual-level indicators of mate selection or kinship are associated with individual-level measures of women's autonomy. But these associations cannot account for the dramatically different degrees of autonomy in these settings.

Such findings do not imply that kin relations and marriage formation are irrelevant for women's autonomy/power. But they do challenge the version of these arguments that isolates marriage/kinship effects at the individual level. Autonomy, while measurable at the individual level, is determined primarily by broad-based institutional arrangements and associated community social control.

Authors Thomas K LeGrand and James F Phillips
The effect of fertility reduction on infant and child mortality: evidence from Matlab in rural Bangladesh

The role of family planning programmes and declining fertility in improving infant and child survival has been the subject of considerable debate. In this paper, we analyse data from Matlab, Bangladesh, to assess the net effect of falling total fertility on the mortality rates of young children. Real time-series models are estimated to determine the role of fertility decline after having controlled for the effects of other health service interventions. The results show that fertility reductions have little effect on neonatal and post-neonatal mortality, possibly a small effect on toddler (second-year) mortality, and a significant and relatively large impact on the mortality of children aged between two and four years. Possible explanations for these findings and their implications are discussed.
pp. 51-68

Authors Magali Barbieri, Alain Blum, Elena Dolkigh and Amon Ergashev
Nuptiality, fertility, use of contraception, and family policies in Uzbekistan

With more than 22 million inhabitants, Uzbekistan is the most populous of the Central Asian republics of the former USSR. Using data from a retrospective survey conducted in 1992 among women of reproductive age, the paper examines fertility trends and determinants during the twentieth century. The analysis shows that the absence of a government-supported birth control programme and the strong pro-natalist policies of the Soviet authorities during most the century did not effect either the onset, nor the progress of the fertility transition. The results indicate, however, that the social development programmes undertaken by the Soviet government did play a very active part in the transition as shown by the impact of education on reproductive behaviour, as well as on the very specific contraceptive mix adopted by the population after the mid-1970s.

Author David Shapiro
Fertility decline in Kinshasa

This paper examines key socio-economic changes over the past 40 years in the lives of women in Kinshasa, Zaire, and how those changes relate to observed fertility behaviour. Data from surveys carried out in 1955, 1975, and 1990 are used to highlight the remarkable shift that has taken place in the educational attainment of women: in the 1950s the vast majority of adult women had no formal education, while by 1990 the median women had been to secondary school. This dramatic shift was accompanied by several related changes, including delays in age at marriage and increased participation in the labour market. Total fertility, which was estimated at 7.5 in the 1950s and had not changed much by 1975, appears to have fallen more recently by about 1.5 children or more. This decline in fertility appears to be closely linked to improvements in secondary school for women in Kinshasa.

Authors Alberto Palloni, Kenneth Hill and Guido Pinto Aguirre
Economic swings and demographic changes in the history of Latin America

In this paper we study the effects of short-term fluctuations in indicators of economic well-being on selected demographic response such as births, marriages and deaths at age intervals in eleven Latin American countries between 1910 and 1990. We use conventional distributed lag models to assess the magnitude and direction of effects and test a variety of hypotheses some of which have been posed to hold in Western Europe and others that are more specific and tailored to the Latin American context. We also compare the magnitude and direction of effects obtained among these countries with those obtained from pre-industrial Europe and uncover the existence of broadly similar patterns.