Economic development and fertility: A methodological re-evaluation

Douglas S. Massey, Lucky M. Tedrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Several studies in recent years have investigated the relationship between economic development and fertility, using the methods of multiple and partial correlation. Results from these studies have been interpreted to show that economic development, while directly tending to increase fertility, also gives rise to factors which inhibit it, resulting in an eventual decrease in fertility with increasing development. The present study re-examines the methodology and empirical results upon which this explanation is based and finds little statistical or empirical support for such a model. Subsequent statistical re-examination of the data from one of these studies reveals that the major independent variables in the model are largely redundant, and that the model is untenable in that it seeks to establish patterns of interrelation between what appear to be redundant constructs. The isolation of additional statistically independent variables is suggested to improve the explanation of variance in fertility in terms of its social and economic correlates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-437
Number of pages9
JournalPopulation Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 1976

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • History


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