Testing three evolutionary models of the demographic transition: Patterns of fertility and age at marriage in urban South India

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Over the last three decades many authors have addressed the demographic transition from the perspective of evolutionary theory. Some authors have emphasized parental investment factors such as the costs of raising children, others have emphasized the effects of mortality and other forms of risk, and others have emphasized the biased transmission of cultural norms from people of high status. Yet the literature says little about the relative strengths of each of these types of motivations or about which ones are more likely to serve as the primary impetus for large-scale demographic change. In this paper, I examine how each of these factors has influenced the demographic transition in urban South India during the course of the 20th century using two measures of fertility transition: number of surviving children and age at marriage. I find that investment-related, risk-related, and cultural transmission predictors all have significant individual effects on the outcome variables, which persist when they are entered in combination. When the three types of predictors are compared, however, investment-related models appear to provide more robust explanations for patterns in both fertility and age of marriage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-511
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 29 2009

Fingerprint

age at marriage
demographic transition
marriage
Population Dynamics
Marriage
Fertility
fertility
India
demographic statistics
parental investment
evolutionary theory
testing
population development
mortality
Motivation
Demography
cost
Costs and Cost Analysis
Mortality
costs

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics

Cite this

@article{1e8529ee598f4963850c97c60da9c003,
title = "Testing three evolutionary models of the demographic transition: Patterns of fertility and age at marriage in urban South India",
abstract = "Over the last three decades many authors have addressed the demographic transition from the perspective of evolutionary theory. Some authors have emphasized parental investment factors such as the costs of raising children, others have emphasized the effects of mortality and other forms of risk, and others have emphasized the biased transmission of cultural norms from people of high status. Yet the literature says little about the relative strengths of each of these types of motivations or about which ones are more likely to serve as the primary impetus for large-scale demographic change. In this paper, I examine how each of these factors has influenced the demographic transition in urban South India during the course of the 20th century using two measures of fertility transition: number of surviving children and age at marriage. I find that investment-related, risk-related, and cultural transmission predictors all have significant individual effects on the outcome variables, which persist when they are entered in combination. When the three types of predictors are compared, however, investment-related models appear to provide more robust explanations for patterns in both fertility and age of marriage.",
author = "Shenk, {Mark K.}",
year = "2009",
month = "9",
day = "29",
doi = "10.1002/ajhb.20943",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "21",
pages = "501--511",
journal = "American Journal of Human Biology",
issn = "1042-0533",
publisher = "Wiley-Liss Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Testing three evolutionary models of the demographic transition

T2 - Patterns of fertility and age at marriage in urban South India

AU - Shenk, Mark K.

PY - 2009/9/29

Y1 - 2009/9/29

N2 - Over the last three decades many authors have addressed the demographic transition from the perspective of evolutionary theory. Some authors have emphasized parental investment factors such as the costs of raising children, others have emphasized the effects of mortality and other forms of risk, and others have emphasized the biased transmission of cultural norms from people of high status. Yet the literature says little about the relative strengths of each of these types of motivations or about which ones are more likely to serve as the primary impetus for large-scale demographic change. In this paper, I examine how each of these factors has influenced the demographic transition in urban South India during the course of the 20th century using two measures of fertility transition: number of surviving children and age at marriage. I find that investment-related, risk-related, and cultural transmission predictors all have significant individual effects on the outcome variables, which persist when they are entered in combination. When the three types of predictors are compared, however, investment-related models appear to provide more robust explanations for patterns in both fertility and age of marriage.

AB - Over the last three decades many authors have addressed the demographic transition from the perspective of evolutionary theory. Some authors have emphasized parental investment factors such as the costs of raising children, others have emphasized the effects of mortality and other forms of risk, and others have emphasized the biased transmission of cultural norms from people of high status. Yet the literature says little about the relative strengths of each of these types of motivations or about which ones are more likely to serve as the primary impetus for large-scale demographic change. In this paper, I examine how each of these factors has influenced the demographic transition in urban South India during the course of the 20th century using two measures of fertility transition: number of surviving children and age at marriage. I find that investment-related, risk-related, and cultural transmission predictors all have significant individual effects on the outcome variables, which persist when they are entered in combination. When the three types of predictors are compared, however, investment-related models appear to provide more robust explanations for patterns in both fertility and age of marriage.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=70349388177&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=70349388177&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/ajhb.20943

DO - 10.1002/ajhb.20943

M3 - Article

C2 - 19408251

AN - SCOPUS:70349388177

VL - 21

SP - 501

EP - 511

JO - American Journal of Human Biology

JF - American Journal of Human Biology

SN - 1042-0533

IS - 4

ER -