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Journal Article

The Stopping and Spacing of Childbirths and Their Birth-History Predictors: Rational-Choice Theory and Event-History Analysis

Kazuo Yamaguchi and Linda R. Ferguson
American Sociological Review
Vol. 60, No. 2 (Apr., 1995), pp. 272-298
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096387
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Stopping and Spacing of Childbirths and Their Birth-History Predictors: Rational-Choice Theory and Event-History Analysis
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Abstract

Using data on women from the 1985 Current Population Survey, we analyze the distinct effects of covariates on birth stopping and birth spacing. We develop behavioral models of rational childbearing from which we derive two sets of hypotheses: one for the effects on birth stopping of the sex composition of children born and its interaction with education and cohort, and the other for the effects of maternal age at birth and the length of the preceding birth interval on birth stopping and birth spacing. To test these hypotheses, we analyze second and third births using event-history models that combine a regression on the probability of not having another birth in the lifetime and a regression on spacing to the next birth. We predict and confirm that: (1) women with different-sex children are more likely to stop childbearing than women with same-sex children; (2) this sex composition effect of children born is larger for highly educated women than for those with lower education attainment and for women in younger cohorts than for those in older cohorts; (3) the sex composition of children born has no effect on birth spacing. We also find that the probability of birth stopping increases as maternal age at previous birth increases, while the spacing to the next birth first increases and then decreases as maternal age at previous birth increases.

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