Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 93–113 | Cite as

The effect of child mortality on fertility behaviors is non-linear: new evidence from Senegal

  • Marwân-al-Qays BousmahEmail author


The present paper examines the relationship between child mortality and fertility at the micro level. We use individual data collected quarterly within the health and demographic surveillance system of the rural community of Niakhar (Fatick, Senegal). Birth histories of 2,884 women born between 1932 and 1961 are analyzed. The determinants of completed fertility are investigated using a standard Poisson Regression Model. The global effect of child mortality on total and net fertility is found to be positive. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to provide evidence for the child survival hypothesis—an effect of child mortality on net fertility—at the micro level. We further identify an inverted-U shaped relationship between child mortality and net fertility. The implication is that health policies aiming at reducing child mortality have indirect effects on desired fertility; yet only a steep decrease in child mortality would be likely to trigger fertility declines.


Fertility Child mortality Sub-Saharan Africa  Child survival versus replacement hypothesis 

JEL Classification

I15 J13 



The author would like to thank Yves Arrighi, Raouf Boucekkine, Olivier Chanel, Jean-Baptiste Combes, Valérie Delaunay, Daria Onori, Luis Sagaon Teyssier and Bruno Ventelou for helpful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aix-Marseille University (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS & EHESSMarseille cedex 02France

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