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AN INTERNATIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTS OF FAMILY ALLOWANCE PROGRAMS ON FERTILITY LEVELS

CHARLES F. HOHM
International Journal of Sociology of the Family
Vol. 6, No. 1 (SPRING 1976), pp. 45-56
Published by: International Journals
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23027970
Page Count: 12
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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.
AN INTERNATIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTS OF FAMILY ALLOWANCE PROGRAMS ON FERTILITY LEVELS
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Abstract

The association between family allowance programs and fertility levels was analyzed by employing regression analysis and a subsampling technique on 67 countries for which secondary data were available. Two family allowance indices were utilized. The coverage index refers to how well a program covers the children in a given country while the benefit level index measures the relative size of family allowance programs. As was expected, the zero-order associations between the family allowance indices and the total fertility rate were highly inverse. These associations were viewed as spurious and it was hypothesized that if the level of economic development was held constant, the independent effect of the family allowance indices on the total fertility rate would be nil. This hypothesis was supported with regard to the benefit level index. However, the independent association between the coverage index and the total fertility rate was still significantly inverse. A possible rationale for the latter finding would reverse the causal order, treating fertility as the independent and family allowance as the dependent variable. Regardless of why countries might desire family allowance programs (either to encourage fertility, to enhance the lives of children, or both), the ability to finance and institute coverage of the child population probably varies inversely with the fertility level. Countries with the lowest levels of fertility would find it the least expensive and difficult to adopt such programs due to the smaller relative number of children that must be covered. As fertility levels rise, so does the relative number of children and one might expect that the expense and difficulty of covering the child population increases proportionately. In any event, the data clearly shows that the relationship between family allowance programs and fertility is not positive. If a country desires to implement or expand family allowance programs in order to raise the living standard of its children, the data in this study suggests that such an implementation or expansion can be done without fear of raising the fertility level.

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