Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



G. M. Farooq and G. B. Simmons (eels.). Fertility in Developing Countries. London: The MacMillan Press (for the International Labour Office). 1985. xXiii + 533 pp.

Author: Ansley Coale

In 1972 the United Nations Fund for Population Activities initiated support for a programme of research within the International Labour Organization on population and employment. Determinants of fertility have been a major theme in this research programme, as is evident in an earlier Progress Report on the programme [3]. The book here reviewed is an attempt to distil some general conclusions from this research, and to present ideas and evidence not included in the 1982 publication. The first section of the book contains a summary of theories of fertility determination; a brief description of the findings of empirical research on fertility, and of the problems of empirical research on the economics of fertility; some comments on the relevance for policy of research on the economics of fertility; and some suggestions for more fruitful research strategies. The second part deals with selected methodological problems: the definition and measurement of fertility; econometric problems of analysing cross-sectional and time-series data; estimation and interpretation of aggregate data; specification and estimation of models fertility; and the uses of simulation techniques in studying the effects of economic policy on fertility. As this list of topics indicates, the emphasis in this section (and in most of the book) is on research on fertility by economists. The last chapter in the second section, however, describes anthropological approaches to the study of fertility. The final section contains six case studies on Kenya, Nigeria, rural India, rural Turkey, Yugoslavia, and a comparative study of Costa Rica and Mexico.

Ansley Coale

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