Social Interaction, Fertility Intentions and Male Involvement in Fertility Decline in Sub- Saharan Africa: Longitudinal Evidence from Ghana

Winfred A. Avogo, Arizona State University

It is common in research on contemporary fertility transitions to account for social interaction effects on individual behavior. However, few studies estimate the impact of social interaction in forming fertility intentions. Yet fertility decline requires both behavioral changes in contraceptive adoption and ideational changes in fertility intentions. Similarly, the role of men in fertility behavior has been widely acknowledged. This paper draws from previous literature to examine complementary effects of gendered social networks on changes in fertility intentions and the mediating effects of fertility intentions on the relationship between social interaction and fertility outcomes. Unlike most previous studies, this study uses longitudinal data to explore the impact of gendered social networks on changes in fertility intentions while controlling for unobserved determinants that bias the estimation of network effects. This enables the paper to address directly, causal inferences and the extent to which social interaction matters for fertility intentions and behavior.

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Presented in Session 14: Gender Dynamics and Reproduction