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Abstract:

Development Economics Paper
Fertility, Education and Development: Further Evidence from India
Jean Drèze and Mamta Murthi
January 2000
Paper No' DEDPS 20:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: fertility; demographic transition; female literacy; india

There has been a significant decline in fertility in many parts of India since the early 1980s. This paper reexamines the determinants of fertility levels and fertility decline, using panel data on Indian districts for 1981 and 1991. We find that women's education is the most important factor explaining fertility differences across the country and over time. Low levels of child mortality and son preferences also contribute to lower fertility. By contrast, general indicators of modernization and development such as urbanisation, poverty reduction, and male literacy bear no significant association with fertility. En passant, we probe a subject of much confusion - the relation between fertility decline and gender bias.