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INDEPTH Scientific Conference 2015

Marwân-al-Qays Bousmah

11-13 November 2015

Addis Ababa, Ethiopie


ISC 2015 theme: Health and Demographic Research to Inform the Post-2015 Development Agenda.


Presentation: "Childhood mortality, childhood morbidity, and subsequent fertility decisions."

Abstract: The effects of childhood mortality and morbidity on the fertility decisionmaking process are analyzed using longitudinal micro data from a Senegalese rural community, for the period 1984-2011. I am able to identify the causal effect of individual child mortality, and also that of community child mortality and morbidity, on subsequent fertility choices. The results provide consistent support for both the child-replacement hypothesis and the precautionary demand for children. I find that community child mortality and morbidity attributable to malaria, which capture exogenous changes in the epidemiological context, exert a joint influence on fertility behaviors. Community-level malaria incidence among children has a positive effect on subsequent fertility choices, and this positive effect is stronger the more the disease is fatal to children who are infected. I argue that the persistently high childhood disease incidence is not responsible per se for sub-Saharan Africa’s sluggish demographic transition. Rather, childhood morbidity contributes to the slow transition to the extent that uncertainty about child survival remains a major concern in the region.