, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 583-621

Environmental Effects on Family Size Preferences and Subsequent Reproductive Behavior in Nepal

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Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between environmental degradation and men and women’s family size preferences and subsequent reproductive behaviors in Nepal. We draw on unique environmental data at the local level, household and individual-level survey data and individuals reproductive behavior over a 3 year time period in Western Chitwan Valley, Nepal. Results from Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and logistic regression models show that poorer environmental quality and greater reliance on publicly owned natural resources are associated with higher family size preferences and higher rates of pregnancy. The analyses provide support for the “vicious circle” argument that environmental degradation can lead to rising population growth via positive effects on fertility. As environmental conditions decline and when households rely on public lands for natural resources, men and women desire larger family sizes and women are more likely to get pregnant in the near future.