Fertility decline as a coordination problem

Kohler, H.-P.
Journal of Development Economics, 63:2, 231–263 (2000)


The so-called `diffusion of innovation' approach is often used in explanations of historical and contemporary fertility declines. We investigate this issue by developing a new theoretical analysis which combines economic and sociological reasoning. Particular attention is devoted to the role of social networks for the selection of equilibria in situations when fertility decline constitutes a coordination problem. We show that the effect of networks depends on the particular interaction among individuals and on the prevailing socioeconomic conditions: `information networks' can only speed up a fertility transition that would also take place in the absence of social interaction, while `coordination networks' can facilitate demographic change in societies that would otherwise be caught in a Malthusian situation. (© 2001 ELSEVIER SCIENCE)
Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.