Fertility Rates In Underdeveloped Countries

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's November 2001

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"The evidence is clear that the total benefits to education multiply when schools open their doors to girls and women"¦educated women have smaller families, fewer of their children die in infancy and the children who survive are healthier and better educated."� (Human Resources Development and Operations Policy: 1993 p1.) Female education and population growth are two issues that have called considerable attention from institutions that promote development and scholars. With the objective of trying to find explanations to rapid population growth in developing countries women's role has been considered essential to determine the potential growth. While externalities seem to play a fundamental role in determining the number of children a woman in a developing country will have in a lifetime, some theories explain that it is the woman's ultimate decision the number of children she will demand to have. In other words, the determining factor in a woman's demand for children is their own decision.

Female education is thought to have fundamental importance and influence in shaping or defining females' final reproductive decision. Its has been argued that by receiving adequate levels of education a woman is able to define an optimal and socially desired number of children to have. Consequently, female education is expected to generate social externalities that will positively affect the welfare of future families, groups, communities and developing countries.

This paper tries to analyze the effect that education is expected to have on females and the effect it has on their reproductive decision. The objective is to investigate the answers of the following economic questions. How is education expected to help women in developing countries? How is fertility expected to behave when changing female education? Are results in developing countries consistent with the posted theories? The paper starts with an investigation of various theories generated...