Docstoc

Mason

Document Sample
Mason Powered By Docstoc
					Mason, Karen Oppenheim. “Explaining Fertility Transitions”

Main idea: Mason gives an overview of theories of fertility transition. But then she asserts that
future theory must look at it as a result of a combination of interactive causes.

Key terms:
fertility transition: combinations of causes that provide impetus for the widespread adoption of
fertility limitation (446)
natural fertility: fertility that is socially controlled but not controlled by individuals on a parity-
specific basis (447)

       major theories of fertility decline
             - classic demographic transition theory (Lestheaghe)
                 modernization and individualization comes w/ industrialization and urbanization
                 mortality decreases, survival of children increases, and in turn fertility decreases
             - theory of wealth flows (Caldwell)
                 nucleation of family makes children the economic beneficiaries
             - neoclassical microeconomic theory
                 3 proximate determinants of fertility choices: relative costs of children, income,
                 preference for children vs. other consumption
             - ideational theory (Cleland)
                 diffusion of info and new norms about birth control
       critique: 4 errors in our thinking
             - assumption of a single cause, rather than a combinations of causes
                 existence of some important influences on fertility in only some times and places
                 diffusion of info can lower fertility before a country undergoes structural change
                 demographic and social variation across pre-transitional nations
             - recent theories ignore mortality decline as a precondition for fertility decline
             - assumption that fertility is different in pre- and post-transitional populations
                 misuse of the concept of natural fertility
                 social controls and individual rationality normally coexist
                 pretransitional countries also limit birth, thru with postnatal controls
             - focusing on a time decadal scale
                 loose temporal connections b/w structural and ideological changes and onset of
                 fertility transitions
       towards a better theory of fertility
             - interactive models
             - ideational models: changing perceptions drive fertility change
             - change depends on preexisting conditions in population and environment
       Mason’s theory
             - whether surviving children exceed, meet, or fall short of the # of children can
                 accommodate or find optimal, determines the types of offspring control, which in
                 turn determines fertility
             - nature of social systems influences the value of children
             - shift from post- to prenatal controls depends on their acceptability and on
                 available alternative controls

Big picture: Obviously, integrates Lesthaeghe, Cleland, and Caldwell, though refutes their
theories as sole explanations. Like them, integrates cultural and economic causes. Also
integrates birth control in fertility transition (Potts, Morgan).

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:4
posted:12/30/2011
language:English
pages:1