Volume 54, Part 3, 2000

Author Kate Hampshire and Sara Randall
Pastoralists, agropastoralists and migrants: Interactions between fertility and mobility in northern Burkina Faso

Seasonal rural to urban migration of young men is becoming an increasingly important part of the rural economy of the West African Sahel, yet little is known about how the short-term contact of men with urban centres might affect reproductive decisions and outcomes in sending areas. In northern Burkina Faso, substantial variation in short-term migration rates of young Fulani men to cities provides an opportunity to explore interactions between migration and fertility in this area.

The groups most involved in seasonal labour migration experience substantially lower fertility than non-migrating groups. Fertility differentials arise largely from higher rates of secondary sterility among migrating groups, probably caused by an increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.

Such mechanisms as changes in attitudes and knowledge regarding birth control, and the undermining of traditional practices of marriage, breastfeeding, and sexual abstinence are far less important.
pp. 247-261

Authors Tommy Bengtsson and Martin Lindstrom
Childhood misery and disease in later life: the effects on mortality in old age of hazards experienced in early life, southern Sweden 1760-1894

This paper assesses the importance of early-life conditions relative to the prevailing conditions for mortality by cause of death in later life using historical data for four rural parishes in southern Sweden for which both demographic and economic data are very good.

Longitudinal demographic data for individuals are combined with household socio-economic data and community data on food costs and the disease load experienced using a Cox regression framework. We find strong support for the hypothesis that the disease load experienced during the first year of life has a strong impact on mortality in later life, in particular on the outcome of airborne infectious diseases. Hypotheses about the effects of the disease load on mothers during pregnancy and access to nutrition during first years of life are not supported.

Contemporary short-term economic stress on the elderly was generally of limited importance although mortality varied by socio-economic group. 

Authors Susan E Short, Ma Linmao and Yu Wentao
Birth planning and sterilisation in China

Sterilisation is the most prevalent method of contraception in China. Approximately half of all women of reproductive age report that they or their husbands are sterilised. Using data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey we describe patterns of sterilisation in eight Chinese provinces. With a discrete-time event history model we investigate the link between characteristics of local birth planning policy and the risk of sterilisation.

After controlling for parity, the risk of sterilisation is highest in communities where birth planning  policy is least strong as measured by exceptions to the one-child policy. These results suggest that couples with more flexibility in family planning may have less control over contraceptive method use. Other factors affecting the risk of sterilisation are a woman's age, parity, and whether or not she has a son.

Our results emphasise the importance of taking into account multiple dimensions of reproductive behaviour when assessing one-child policy changes.

Authors Hugh Davies, Heather Joshi, and Romana Peronaci
Forgone income and motherhood: what do recent British data tell us?

Children affect women's opportunities in the labour markets of most advanced countries in three ways: an immediate effect on employment, and effects on longer term earning power and pension coverage. This paper quantifies these impacts on women's lifetime income for hypothetical illustrative British cases. New results, based on data collected during the 1990s, are compared with estimates from 1980.

Although childbearing and employment have increasingly been combined over the period, the estimated loss of gross earnings associated with motherhood remains substantial. It still amounts to around half potential earnings post childbirth or less qualified sections of the British female labour force, but has become smaller for highly qualified women.

The paper examines the effect of the tax/benefit system on the costs, and makes some assumptions about the distribution of net costs between mothers and fathers. It also shows how far motherhood jeopardises financial security in old age, particularly for the least qualified.

Author Gordon F De Jong
Expectations, gender, and norms in migration decision-making

This paper argues that expectations - the process of evaluating the chances for future attainment of valued goals in the home community (stay decision) vs. alternative locations (move decision) - along with family norms about migration are major predictors of intention to move, which in turn is a proximate determinant of migration behaviour.

Utilising longitudinal data from 1992 and 1994 waves of the Thailand National Migration Survey, logistic regression models show that a strikingly different set of expectations, household demographic indicators, and migrant capital factors were significant determinants of migration intentions for men and women; reflecting Thai gender roles. Migration intentions, in turn, predicted more permanent, but not temporary, survival strategy migration behaviour, while low household income predicted temporary but not more permanent migration behaviour.

The measure of perceived family migration norms was a powerful determinant of migration behaviour, but the size of migrant networks was not a statistically significant determinant of either migration intentions or behaviour.

Author Etienne Van De
'Marvellous secrets': birth control in European short fiction, 1150-1650

Medieval and Renaissance tales are remarkable for their frank discussion of sexual practices, including birth control. Italian and French writings are the most explicit. Contraception and abortions are often treated as 'secrets', esoteric practices acquired from experts. The concealment of pregnancy is presented as an alternative form of birth control, often used after others have failed. In the narratives, the use of birth control is mostly confined to premarital relations, although contraception by married women appears at the end of the period in a few French examples.

Author Marwan Khawaja
The recent rise in Palestinian fertility: permanent or transient?

The purpose of this paper is to describe trends in fertility and fertility change in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the years 1968-1992, with a particular focus on the recent rise in fertility. The paper is based primarily on vital registration data. The findings show that the fertility transition has been well underway in the West Bank since 1985, with a lull during the Intifada period. No indication of a fertility transition in the Gaza Strip was found. An  examination of the age pattern of fertility reveals that Palestinian fertility has been increasingly shifting toward younger ages, with a particular concentration in the age group 15-24 during the Intifada period. A decomposition analysis of the fertility rates shows that the recent rise in fertility is essentially due to changes in marital structure, but also to increased fertility within marriage among younger women. No evidence of increased fertility among older women is found. Some implications of the findings are discussed.