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Cultural Dynamics and Economic Theories of Fertility Change

Ron Lesthaeghe and Johan Surkyn
Population and Development Review
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 1-45
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1972499
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1972499
Page Count: 45
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Cultural Dynamics and Economic Theories of Fertility Change
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Abstract

Cohorts are socialized under a historically specific set of conditions by a unique set of parents, institutions, and peers. Economic circumstances affect the value orientations of the socializing generation, set constraints on family building patterns, and open or close possibilities for cultural diffusion. The demographic cycle of the baby boom and bust can be matched by a cycle of ideational change: individual trust in existing institutions and their regulatory functions during the boom, and accelerated individuation during the bust. The individuation process is continuing among today's younger cohorts in Europe, suggesting an extension of the current period of below-replacement fertility.

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