Home > Events & News > Brown Bag Schedule . Archive

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Singh discusses her research in India on infertility

Johnston concerned declines in teen smoking threatened by e-cigarettes

Frey discusses book Diversity Explosion

Highlights

Apply for 2-year NICHD Postdoctoral Fellowships that begin September 2015

PSC Fall 2014 Newsletter now available

Martha Bailey and Nicolas Duquette win Cole Prize for article on War on Poverty

Michigan's graduate sociology program tied for 4th with Stanford in USN&WR rankings

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Jan 12
Filiz Garip, Changing Dynamics of Mexico-U.S. Migration

psc brown bag iconMarginal Valuation of Fertility and Risk-Aversion in Women’s Reproduction on the Utah Frontier, 1849-1929

Jamie Jones (Department of Anthropological Sciences, Stanford University)

10/13/2008, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

Evolutionary models for reproductive decision-making have not fared well in explaining fertility transitions. Such models typically make the implicit assumption that all births are substitutable, however, this is only true under extremely restrictive demographic circumstances. We develop a method for measuring the marginal value of fertility based on an extension of the Leslie matrix to individual birth histories. The cumulative fitness function with parity is concave, indicating diminishing marginal returns to higher-order births. From this, we predict that women should be risk-averse decision-makers if a birth jeopardizes the well-being of existing children. We investigate the predictions of this model using a large historical database from 19th and early 20th century Utah. Employing discrete event analysis, we show that birth intervals increase in this natural-fertility population during economic crises. Furthermore, the changes in birth interval length follow from the predictions of our model of decreasing marginal value of fertility.


  View All