Impact of Contextual Factors on the Relationship between Fertility Intention and Behavior: An Indian Case Study, 2005-2012

Esha Chatterjee, University of Maryland
Joan R. Kahn, University of Maryland

This study attempts to understand persistent regional differences in fertility in India by examining regional variation in the link between fertility intentions and behaviors. We use panel data from the India Human Development Surveys to study the impact of individual and contextual factors on the link between fertility intentions (measured in 2005) and subsequent fertility (reported in 2012). Of particular interest are state- and district-level characteristics reflecting the local economic and normative environment, especially gender norms (e.g., women’s mobility and marriage patterns). Following McDonald (2000), we hypothesize that fertility will remain highest where gender inequality in the household and in external institutions (e.g., education, employment) is highest. Our analysis starts by examining regional variation in fertility intentions among women ages 25-40 in 2005. Then among those who in 2005 claimed to want “no more” children, we examine the likelihood of having at least one additional child by 2012.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors