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Tom E. Fricke photo

Darwinian Transitions? A Comment

Publication Abstract

Fricke, Tom E. 1990. "Darwinian Transitions? A Comment." Population and Development Review, 16(1): 107-19.

This note contrasts John Caldwell's wealth flows theory of fertility decline with an alternative approach to explaining the demographic transition advanced by Paul Turke base on the assumptions of work in sociobiology. Caldwell's general theory fits quite well with known empirical patterns, whereas Turke's model is contradicted by empirical studies. Moreover, while sociobiological considerations of demographic transition are valuable in drawing attention to kinship support networks, they are limited by their tendency to define these networks solely in biological terms at the expense of social definitions of proximate interest. Caldwell's focus on cultural variation in concrete processes of social change--the proximate mechanisms of transition--looks for the mechanisms of demographic transformation in the lives and values of individuals living in families.

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