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Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 429–451 | Cite as

Disease risk and fertility: evidence from the HIV/AIDS pandemic

  • Yoo-Mi Chin
  • Nicholas Wilson
Original Paper
  • 390 Downloads

Abstract

A fundamental question about human behavior is whether fertility responds to disease risk. The standard economic theory of household fertility decision-making generates ambiguous predictions, and the response has large implications for human welfare. We examine the fertility response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic using national household survey data from 14 sub-Saharan African countries. Instrumental variable (IV) estimates using distance to the origin of the pandemic suggest that HIV/AIDS has increased the total fertility rate (TFR) and the number of surviving children. These results rekindle the debate about the fertility response to disease risk, particularly the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and highlight the question of whether the HIV/AIDS pandemic has reduced GDP per capita.

Keywords

Disease Fertility HIV/AIDS Instrumental variable regression 

JEL classification

I15 J13 O12 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Erdal Tekin and three anonymous reviewers for excellent comments. Ran Duan and Mark Jarrett provided timely research assistance. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the aforementioned individuals or agencies. All errors are our own.

Funding information

This study was not funded by a research grant or other funding source.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© US Government (outside the USA) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsBaylor UniversityWacoUSA
  2. 2.White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team and Department of EconomicsReed CollegePortlandUSA

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