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Demography

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 369–383 | Cite as

Learning in social networks and contraceptive choice

Fertility and Contraception

Abstract

A puzzling observation in the diffusion of modern fertility control is the persistent diversity in contraceptive practices across communities or social strata. I propose a model of “learning in social networks” to explain this diversity with the random dynamics of word-of-mouth communication. Women are uncertain about the merits of modern contraception and estimate the different qualities of available methods based on imprecise information from network partners. Their contraceptive choices are determined by this estimate and by private knowledge about one s personal characteristics. This process of social learning leads to path-dependent adoption of fertility control within, and diversity in contraceptive practices across villages or social strata.

Keywords

Social Network Contraceptive Method Fertility Control Contraceptive User Social Stratum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Demographic ResearchRostockGermany

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