Fertility behavior in Azerbaijan: on the demographic-economic paradox

Maximilian Stiefel, University of California, Santa Barbara

Life history theory proposes that individuals increase fertility when able to generate more resources per unit of energy. However, modern, industrialized societies typically exhibit a negative wealth-fertility relationship as hypothesized by demographic transition theory. This mismatch between evolutionary and demographic theories, termed the demographic-economic paradox, is known as the 'central theoretical problem in sociobiology.' This study contributes to the demographic-economic paradox literature by analyzing Demographic and Health Survey data from 2005 in Azerbaijan. I seek to answer two primary questions: (1) How does wealth affect lifetime reproductive success among post-reproductive women? and (2) Do individuals in market integrated societies exhibit increased preferences towards socioeconomic success over fertility? I use multilevel modeling to capture the variability among both individuals and sampling clusters. To model the relationship in (1) I took lifetime reproductive success (LRS) as count data with a Poisson error structure. For (2) I looked at how educational attainment affects the risk of birth at a given age conditional on no births before that age using a discrete time hazard model. I find that LRS is negatively correlated with wealth and significantly lower in more urban areas. Higher educated women delay fertility longer, and urban women tend to delay fertility longer holding educational attainment constant. This analysis shows that in Azerbaijan, the wealthier tend to have lower lifetime reproductive success and market integration biases preferences towards socioeconomic status seeking over fitness maximization, at least in early life stages.

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Presented in Poster Session 3