Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 3–22 | Cite as

Population policy: Authoritarianism versus cooperation

  • Amartya Sen


The people whose interests are most adversely affected by frequent bearing and rearing of children are young women. Social changes that expand the decisional power of young women (such as expansion of female literacy, or enhancement of female employment opportunity) can, thus, be major forces in the direction of reducing fertility rates. This “cooperative” route seems to act more securely – and often much faster – than the use of “coercion” in reducing family size and birth rates. This essay examines the comparative evidence from India and China on this subject as well as the interregional contrasts within India. JEL classification: J11, J13, O15

Key words: Population policy women‘s emancipation China India 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amartya Sen
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard University, Department of Economics, Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138, USAUS

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