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Fertility Timing and Women's Economic Outcomes in South Africa

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   David Lam, Zoe McLaren

This project will take advantage of rich longitudinal data from South Africa to analyze the relationship between fertility and women's economic outcomes. The project uses three longitudinal surveys that the research team was involved in designing and which we have used in previous research: the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS), the Africa Centre Demographic Information System (ACDIS), and the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS). These surveys combine retrospective birth histories with prospectively collected fertility data, providing information on age at first birth, number of children ever born, number of children surviving, and fertility timing and spacing. The fertility data will be combined with longitudinal information on women's labor force activity, earnings, migration, household income, government transfers, and poverty status to analyze the relationship between fertility timing and economic outcomes. The surveys also have data on family background and early life characteristics that can be used to deal with some of problems of endogeneity that plague research on the links between fertility and economic outcomes. In NIDS, for example, we can condition on the education of a woman's parents, her province and district council of birth, and her description of the economic status of her household when she was age 15. A major focus of the project will be integrating data on the timing and placement of family planning clinics with the nationally representative data in NIDS. In particular, we will use data on the rollout of the National Adolescent-Friendly Clinic Initiative (NAFCI), a major component of the well-known loveLife program. There is good reason to believe that temporal and spatial variation in access to these clinics is associated with the timing of first births, providing an exogenous source of variation in fertility timing that can be linked to our detailed data on later economic outcomes.

Funding Period: 11/15/2012 to 11/14/2014

Country of Focus: South Africa

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