December 09, 2022 | News | Prize for Excellent Paper

Ben Malinga John is Granted the Jan M. Hoem Paper Award


The paper which examines differences in fertility levels between remarried women and women in intact unions in Sub-Saharan Africa by Ben Malinga John and a colleague was granted the award in the name of former MPIDR Director Jan M. Hoem.

Ben Malinga John, who is a PhD Student in the Laboratory of Fertility and Well-Being, and his colleague Vissého Adjiwanou (Université de Montréal) published the winning paper which combines Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data for 34 countries to examine differences in fertility levels between remarried women and women in intact unions in Sub-Saharan Africa. The two researchers show that remarriage is associated with fewer children at the end of the reproductive years, despite remarried women having similar or higher fertility levels than other women at younger ages. They also show that remarriage effects reduce as fertility levels decline.

“The authors relate theoretical and empirical approaches skillfully,” says Cassio M Turra, external reviewer of the Award Committee and Associate Professor of Demography at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He adds: “John and Adjiwanou were able to overcome the DHS data limitations by developing methodological solutions to test each hypothesis.”

The paper compares fertility levels and patterns for several countries. Although all countries are in the same region, the study provides comparative results, highlighting common patterns and exceptions, and strengthening the conclusions.

“The paper is key for discussing what will happen to world population growth since most of the remaining increases depend on sub-Saharan Africa's fertility levels,” says Cassio M Turra.

Throughout the paper, the authors did not hesitate to reveal the potential biases that could emerge from gaps in the data and methodology. “They did a great job informing the readers about these issues and indicating their magnitude and direction,” says Cassio M Turra.

The Jan M. Hoem Paper Award was presented during the Holiday Get-together of MPIDR members and family on December, 8th. The annual prize was awarded for the third time in 2022. It was established to reward a junior researcher at the MPIDR for a paper that exhibits the quality, innovation, originality, and scientific merit exemplified by the work of Jan M. Hoem.

Original Publication

John, B., Adjiwanou, V.: Fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa: Does remarriage matter? Population Studies (2021). DOI: 10.1080/00324728.2021.1933148

Related Press Release

Fertility in African Countries: Remarried Women Have Less Children


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