Journal Article

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)
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.