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Fertility Limitation and Child Schooling in Ouagadougou: Selective Fertility or Resource Dilution?

  • June 2015
  • Journal Article
Bougma, Moussa, LeGrand, Thomas & Kobiane, Jean-Francois

Publication Title: Studies in Family Planning

Pages: 177-199

Abstract: Using original data collected in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, this study investigates evidence for the competing theories that fertility reductions increase children’s education through either the quantity–quality tradeoff (intentionally choosing smaller families to make greater investments in education and other indicators of child quality) or resource dilution (having more children reduces resources available per child, regardless of intentionality of family size). The results provide evidence for both hypotheses: children having four or fewer siblings were significantly more likely to be enrolled in school if their mothers had intentionally stopped childbearing relative to those whose mothers wanted more children but whose childbearing was limited by subfecundity. The difference between intentional and unintentional family limitation was not significant for parities greater than five. In addition, the relationship between number of siblings and their schooling is negative, regardless of the intentionality of family-size limitation, but the strength of this negative relationship is approximately twice as high among children whose mothers intentionally limited fertility (reflecting both selection and dilution effects) than among children whose mothers were subfecund (reflecting the pure dilution effect).

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