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Author: Tsui, Steve Wai Cho
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1. Tsui, Steve Wai Cho
A Sequential Study of Birth Probabilities: An Economic Model
Ph.D. Dissertation, Illinois University at Carbondale, 1981
Cohort(s): Young Men
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Family Planning; Family Size; Fertility; Household Income; Modeling; Sexual Reproduction

A sequential economic model of human reproduction is developed and tested in this study. Rather than focus on the completed family size, desired or actual, of a family as the decision variable in the fertility process, this study looks at the economic determinants of parity progression. The dynamic model fills in the gap left by Namboodiri's suggestion for a sequential economic model of transitional probabilities from parity n to parity n+1. With the introduction of a multi-period intertemporal preference thesis, the decision variable "whether or not an additional child is demanded" is shown to be logically derived as the dependent variable in a planning and replanning household production model. According to this multi-period household consumption and production model, the demand for an additional child is an outcome of rational choice: utility maximization subject to resource, time, and technological constraints. Most importantly, it is clear that other economic models treating completed parity as the dependent variable are actually implicitly imbedded with very unrealistic and restrictive separability assumptions on the family's preference ordering. Empirical tests of this model with the 1976 NLS data yield encouraging results. The probability of another child is reported as very sensitive to changes in the value of selected independent socioeconomic and demographic variables. Two interesting findings are: (1) The quantity of children is shown to be a normal good. The demand for children will increase as income increases; and (2) An opportunity cost effect of the father's time is reported in the study. This is not surprising since the labor of the father is allowed to be productive in household activities. Hence, educational level of the father may not be as good an indicator of the earning potential of a family as it is usually assumed in numerous studies.
Bibliography Citation
Tsui, Steve Wai Cho. A Sequential Study of Birth Probabilities: An Economic Model. Ph.D. Dissertation, Illinois University at Carbondale, 1981.