Contexts of Reproduction: Gender Dynamics and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa

Jeroen Smits, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Prof. Hilde Bras, Wageningen University & Research on Social Media

The fertility transition in SSA goes much slower than in other global regions and shows much variation across the continent. Two key points emerge from the literature to explain this: The importance of gendered social determinants, such as women’s and men's education and decision-making power, and the need to situate these processes and understand the role of context. We develop and test a novel theoretical framework for explaining contextual variation in the links between gender dynamics and fertility, which merges intra-household bargaining models, the life course perspective, and sociological literature on neighborhood effects. Using data on over 650,000 women living in 30.000 communities, within 300+ regions in 39 SSA countries we investigate the influence of gender dynamics at the household, local, district, and national level on indicators of women’s fertility and determine how these effects are moderated by specific economic, socio-cultural, institutional, and geographical contexts.

See paper.

  Presented in Session 75. Couples’ Reproductive Health and Fertility