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State Policies and the Birth Rate in Egypt: From Socialism to Liberalism

Philippe Fargues
Population and Development Review
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Mar., 1997), pp. 115-138
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/2137463
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137463
Page Count: 24
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State Policies and the Birth Rate in Egypt: From Socialism to Liberalism
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Abstract

This note explores the influence that state policies have had on the decline of the birth rate in Egypt during the second half of the twentieth century. The three successive political regimes over this period have pursued similar policies seeking to extend the practice of birth control. Despite this continuity in population policy, the birth rate has exhibited several shifts, alternatively downward and upward, indicating the influence of other factors. The erratic variations of the birth rate, in the short term, appear to parallel the resources available to households, which in turn change in relation to public policies affecting the distribution of income and, more recently, the increasing dominance of market processes in the economy. On the other hand, the long-term trend toward a decrease in the birth rate is paralleled by an increase in the average level of education among women, which for its part results from state policies extending schooling to girls. These results suggest that the analysis of population policies should not be isolated from the global political economy that forms the context of the fertility transition.

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