An analysis of fertility behaviour in Mexico
In the last few decades female permanent sterilization became the most used contraception method in Mexico. During this time the demand for short-term contraceptives fell consistently. The shift in the demand for contraceptives raises concerns among demographers that the timing of children may remain unchanged regardless of the observed reductions in period fertility rates. After presenting a brief discussion of the economic theory on fertility behaviour (Chapter 2) and introducing the reader to the main demographic issues of modem Mexico (Chapter 3), Chapter 4 assesses these ideas in the context of modelling the timing of a first child, using duration models as main analysis tool. Findings suggest that young cohorts of women are effectively delaying first birth relative to the experience of older generations. Chapter 5 reports a study of the determinants of completed fertility. Special attention is given to studying how characteristics such as religion and ethnic group affect the likelihood of transition from low to high order parities. An innovative Double-Hurdle count model is developed for the analysis. Findings indicate that education and Catholicism are associated with reductions in the likelihood of transition from parities lower than four to high order parities. Being an indigenous language speaker increases the odds of a large family. Chapter 6 enquires how fertility plans of young individuals who live in intact families (i.e., those where both biological parents are present) differ from fertility plans of young individuals who live in non-intact families. The role of family background in the formation of fertility plans is studied. Count data models are used in the analysis, including an innovative technique for estimating quantile regression for count data. Findings suggest that an absent father reduces planned fertility, especially when women have weak preferences towards children. Education decreases planned fertility if strong preferences towards children are felt.