Improving Empirical Estimation of Demographic Drivers: Fertility, Child Mortality & Malaria Ecology

Gordon C. McCord, Dalton Conley, Jeffrey D. Sachs
2010 Social Science Research Network  
Much of Africa has yet to go through a demographic transition; this Malthusian crisis of high mortality, high fertility, rapid population growth and chronic extreme poverty has been attributed to factors including the status of women, pro-natalist policies, and poverty itself. Large uncertainty exists among demographers as to the relative importance of these factors, mostly since econometric estimation is complicated by the endogeneity of fertility to other variables of interest. We attempt to
more » ... mprove estimation of the eect of the child mortality variable on fertility by deploying exogenous variation in the ecology of malaria transmission. Results show that child mortality is a powerfully robust driver of fertility behavior. Meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing 1990 child mortality rates by 66% in sub-Saharan Africa would translate into a reduction of total fertility rates from around 6.3 in 1990 to 4.5 (holding other fertility drivers constant), around halfway towards achieving replacement fertility levels of 2.1.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.1647901 fatcat:6ej4mmrwynclplrz7tb5fkvriu