Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 387–415 | Cite as

Cohort Effects or Period Effects? Fertility Decline in South Korea in the Twentieth Century

  • Bongoh KyeEmail author


This study examines if the Korean fertility decline is driven by long-term cohort changes or by fluctuating period changes. By using a classic age–period–cohort model, a moment decomposition method, and a new summary fertility measure—‘cross-sectional average fertility’—I show that the Korean fertility decline is primarily driven by period changes and that delayed childbearing has important consequences for the onset of fertility decline. These findings are in line with the existing literature in fertility changes such as theories of fertility transitions and sociological accounts of fertility changes in Western countries in the twentieth century. The policy implications of these findings are also discussed.


Fertility decline in South Korea Cross-sectional average fertility (CAF) APC analysis Moment decomposition 



An earlier version of this paper was presented to the Population Association of America 2010 Annual Meeting at Dallas, TX (15–17 April 2010). The author appreciates Robert D. Mare, Kenneth W. Wachter, Patrick Heuveline, Jenjira J. Yahirin, the editor and three anonymous reviewers for valuable suggestions and comments. Tom Rushmer provided editorial help.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornell Population CenterCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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