Volume 62, Part 1, March 2008

Authors: Cynthia B. Lloyd & Barbara S. Mensch
Title: Marriage and childbirth as factors in dropping out from school: An analysis of DHS data from sub-Saharan Africa

Leaving school prematurely is often claimed to be among the most negative consequences of early marriage and pregnancy for girls in less developed countries. However, an analysis of the relative frequency with which these events actually occur or are named as reasons for leaving school reveals that, at least in the case of francophone Africa, they explain no more than 20 per cent of dropouts.

To the extent that demographic events trump school or family factors as determinants of school-leaving, our data indicate that it is union formation - defined by the DHS as first marriage or cohabitation - rather than childbirth that is more likely to have this effect. 'Schoolgirl pregnancy' typically accounts for only between 5 and 10 per cent of girls' departures from school.

Furthermore, the risks of leaving school because of pregnancy or marriage have declined over time with the decline in rates of early marriage and childbearing.

Keywords: school exit; dropout; schoolgirl pregnancy; early marriage; early childbearing; sub-Saharan Africa

Author: Henri Leridon
Title: A new estimate of permanent sterility by age: Sterility defined as the inability to conceive

The proportion of couples permanently sterile beyond a certain age is an important component of the reproductive process. Unless medical assistance is used, this age is the upper bound of the fecund period.

Most estimates of sterility by age of the woman have been derived from natural fertility populations, in which the number of births and the timing of the last birth (of the complete reproductive history) were not controlled by the couples. Because data on these populations do not include pregnancies not ending in a live birth, the sterility estimates apply to the proportion of couples unable to conceive and to have a live birth. For this reason, it is useful to have an estimate of sterility based on the risk of conceiving, independently of the fate of the pregnancy.

Using this new estimate, sterility increases with age much more slowly than with most previous estimates.

Keywords: sterility; foetal wastage; natural fertility

Authors: Rachel Sullivan Robinson, Ronald D. Lee, Karen L. Kramer
Title: Counting women's labour: A reanalysis of children's net production using Cain's data from a Bangladeshi village

The economic contribution of children to their parents' households has long interested demographers because of its potential to influence fertility levels. Valuing children's labour in pre-industrial economies, however, is inherently difficult.

The same is true of women's labour, a crucial component of any analysis of net production. Here we use Mead Cain's seminal study (Population and Development Review 3(3): 201-227, 1977) of children's economic contributions in a Bangladeshi village to illustrate these points. We combine Cain's data on landless women's and men's hours of work with data on the efficiency per hour of work from other pre-industrial settings (Mueller, Population and Development: The Search for Selective Interventions. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 98-153, 1976; Kramer, Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, 1998).

When women's labour is incorporated, we find that the Bangladeshi children begin to produce as much as they consume by ages 10 (girls) or 11 (boys). Despite these productive contributions, neither women nor men 'pay' for their cumulative consumption until their early 20s. We believe our methods could be usefully applied in other contexts.

Keywords: child worth; value of children; women's work; Bangladesh; Mead Cain; Maya

Authors: Laurent Toulemon & Magali Barbieri
Title: The mortality impact of the August 2003 heat wave in France: Investigating the 'harvesting' effect and other long-term consequences

In August 2003, Western Europe experienced a deadly heat wave. It is estimated that 15,000 people died in France from its direct effects. Applying an indirect estimation technique to the monthly number of deaths by sex, age, and place of residence for the period 1996-2003, we estimate the number of years that would have remained to those who died from the heat wave had they been spared. The paper also evaluates the role of the 'harvesting' effect of the 2003 heat wave in explaining the deficit of deaths recorded in 2004 - estimated at 23,000 out of an expected total of 535,000 deaths. The harvesting effect was modest and accounted for fewer than 5,000 of the 'missing' deaths in 2004. The mortality decline in 2004 is thus due mainly to other factors. One hypothesis is that special efforts have been directed towards isolated older people as a consequence of the heat wave.

Keywords: mortality; age-specific mortality; heat wave; climate; harvesting; France; life expectancy

Authors: Patrick Lusyne & Hilary Page
Title: The impact of children on a parent's risk of suicide following death of a spouse, Belgium 1991-96

Since Durkheim's work on suicide, the family has widely been seen as providing partial protection against the development of tendencies to suicide. This study assesses the impact of parenthood (both number of children and age of youngest child) on suicide following the death of a spouse. Using data for Belgium in the 5 years following the 1991 census, the study adopts a nested case-control design with information on 3,800 suicides and 75,673 matched controls. The analysis takes into account several social-economic variables. The findings show that the impact of children on the elevated suicide levels found among widows and widowers relative to the still married can be positive or negative, and differs by both age and sex of the parent, age of the child or children, and time since bereavement.

Keywords: mortality; suicide; spousal bereavement; death of spouse; parenthood; Belgium 

Authors: Liesbeth Steenhof & Aart C. Liefbroer
Title: Intergenerational transmission of age at first birth in the Netherlands for birth cohorts in the period 1935-84: Evidence from municipal registers

Whereas most research on the intergenerational transmission of fertility behaviour has focused on transmission of the number of children, this paper studies the transmission of the timing of first births. Specific attention is paid to changes in the strength of transmission across cohorts. Theoretically, it is unclear whether the strength of intergenerational transmission of entry into parenthood can be expected to increase or to decrease across cohorts. Event history analyses of data in Dutch registers show a substantial degree of intergenerational transmission in the age at which people have their first child. The degree of transmission from mothers to children increases for successive cohorts. Intergenerational transmission becomes weaker the longer children postpone entry into parenthood. At young ages transmission from mothers to children is stronger than from fathers to children.

Keywords: intergenerational transmission; age at first birth; fertility; population register; the Netherlands; event history analysis
Author: Marie Vandresse
Title: Estimation of a structural model of the determinants of neonatal mortality in Hungary, 1984-88 and 1994-98

We developed and evaluated a structural model of the determinants of neonatal mortality in Hungary that embodies the causal mechanisms by which its proximate and indirect determinants-socio-economic,behavioural, and biological-are related. The statistical model used distinguishes between endogenous and exogenous variables and allows the causal effect of each to be correctly estimated. Unobserved variables are integrated into the model, which was tested using Hungarian data for the periods 1984-88 and 1994-98.
The principal findings are as follows: weight at birth and duration of gestation are the most important of the (direct) causal determinants of neonatal mortality. Mother's age has an indirect and detrimental effect: when mothers are older than 30 years of age, the risk of lower birth weight or multiple births and, in consequence, neonatal mortality is increased. Father's age has no direct or indirect causal effect on neonatal mortality.

Keywords: neonatal mortality; direct and indirect pathways; structural model; conceptual model

Author: D. A. Coleman
Title: Review Essay: New Europe, new diversity.

This article does not have an abstract.