Is the Importance of Education for Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa Substantially Underestimated When Community Effects Are Ignored?

Oystein Kravdal, University of Oslo

Discrete-time hazard models for first- and higher-order births are estimated from DHS data for 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for the 1990s. It is found that, among women with the same education, fertility decreases with increasing average educational level in the neighborhood (DHS cluster). When the aggregate variable is left out, some of its effect is captured by the individual variable, but only a small part. For example, a simulation based on a model including only individual education reveals that average fertility for these 22 countries would have been 0.52 lower if education were expanded from the current level in the region to that in Kenya. However, according to a model where also average education is included, the drop would have been 1.00, of which 0.38 is the individual effect. A considerable aggregate contribution is estimated even when several potential determinants of education included.

Presented in Session 58: Fertility Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa