Publications [#321815] of Erica Field

Journal Articles

  1. Field, E; Molitor, V; Schoonbroodt, A; Tertilt, M, Gender Gaps in Completed Fertility, Journal of Demographic Economics, vol. 82 no. 02 (June, 2016), pp. 167-206, Cambridge University Press (CUP)
    (last updated on 2020/05/27)

    Abstract:The most common measure of reproductive behavior is the total fertility rate, which measures children born per woman. However, little work exists measuring male fertility behavior. We use survey data from several waves of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in eight Sub-Saharan African countries. We document several interesting differences in fertility outcomes of men and women. First, comparing completed fertility by birth cohorts, we find that on average men have more children than women in seven out of eight countries we consider. The gaps are large – reaching up to 4.6 children in Burkina Faso. Positive gaps are possible when populations are growing and men father children with younger women. Such a situation often coincides with polygyny. Indeed, we find that the fertility gap is positively related to the degree of polygyny. Second, we find a lower variance in completed fertility rates for women than for men, especially in high polygyny countries. Third, we find that differences in the desire to have children can largely be explained by differences in realized fertility. Finally, we find that for men, the demographic transition started earlier and was steeper than for women. These novel facts are useful when building theories of fertility behavior.