Seminar 30 October 2014
Development Policies when Accounting for the Extensive Margin of Fertility
There are two main types of childlessness: involuntary and voluntary. We argue that taking into account childlessness and its causes matters for evaluating development policies. Involuntary childlessness can be either innate or acquired, the latter arising under poor living conditions. Looking at the data without theory, even from surveys, does not allow to measure the importance of the various types of childlessness
in a given country. We provide a structural model of fertility, marriage and childlessness whose deep parameters are identified using census data from 37 developing countries.
We highlight that neglecting the endogenous response of marriage and childlessness lead to overestimate the effectiveness of family planning policies, except where the highly educated mothers are also heavily affected by unwanted births. Improving child survival is generally neutral for net fertility. The effectiveness of promoting gender equality in lowering fertility rates is generally amplified, except in countries where involuntary childlessness is high.
Contact: Battista Severgnini and Cédric Schneider