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Reckoning females’ education as a determinant of fertility control in Pakistan: An empirical approach
Authors: Qurra-tul-ain Ali Sheikh, Mahpara Sadaqat, and Muhammad Meraj
Source: International Journal of Social Economics, 44(3): 414-444; DOI: 10.1108/IJSE-01-2015-0007
Topic(s): Contraception
Family planning
Country: Asia
Published: MAR 2017
Abstract: Purpose The purpose of this paper is to obtain empirical evidence on the impacts of socio-economic and demographic factors on the fertility decisions taken by a common family in developing countries like Pakistan. Also, this study contravenes the conventional orthodoxy of childbirth decisions of a family by enlarging the canvas and conjectures the fundamental nexus amongst female’s education, fertility and contraceptive use. Design/methodology/approach The study is based on micro-level data, obtained from the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (2012-2013) which is the third survey carried out in Pakistan. Demographic and socio-economic profiles of 13,558 ever-married women, aged 15-49 years, were randomly selected from Gilgit Baltistan and the four provinces of Pakistan. Three dependent variables are used in empirical analysis i.e. current use of contraceptives, total fertility and cumulative fertility. In order to estimate the probability of contraceptive use maximum likelihood, Probit technique is employed with ordinary least squares on reduced form specifications of total fertility and cumulative fertility models. Findings The empirical results proved the hypotheses that educated females practice more family planning through modern contraceptives which leads to a decrease in total fertility rates. Some significant links among females’ education, contraceptive use and fertility define the quantity – quality trade-off and opportunity cost of time. Evidently, female education provides maturity and awareness of family size which is necessary to take crucial economic decisions. Research limitations/implications The empirical evidence suggests that maximum efforts should be made toward women’s education. The current standard of education in Pakistan is not enough to overcome the long-standing problem of excessive child birth. This could be done with the help of public – private partnership as the measures taken by the government alone are insufficient. The government should initiate some adequate measures such as education and awareness about contraceptive usage at the secondary school level that could be a vivacious step to support fertility reduction. Practical implications The framework used in this study provides a broader intra-household income–expenditure approach. With a smaller family size, the household’s income would be shared among fewer individuals. It is highly probable that parents would be more attentive if they need to look after a few children. That is the best way to progress their children with limited resources. Social implications From the socioeconomic perspectives, educated parents plan the ideal family size which allows them to spend more on their children’s upbringing. Originality/value This study captures the magnitude of fertility decisions with the relevance of the wife’s education because the present practice in Pakistan does not allow higher education for married women. This is why this study could be used as a benchmark for further study in the same area. Keywords: Pakistan, Cumulative fertility, Female’s education, Modern contraceptives use, Selected socio-economic and demographic factors, Total fertility