Testing Hypotheses of the Demographic Transition in San Borja, Bolivia
Kristin Snopkowski, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Evidence suggests that higher levels of educational achievement delays marriage and reproduction. This paper sets out to test the causal pathway by which education influences age at first birth and overall fertility by comparing three hypotheses: labor force participation, embodied capital theory and contraceptive knowledge. Female labor force suggests that higher education increases the ability of a woman to enter into the work force, which directly competes with childrearing activities. Embodied capital theory states that in societies with competitive wage labor markets, parents are motivated to invest more in education and job training for themselves and their children. Finally, exposing women to information about and access to contraceptives may allow women to reduce their fertility. Interviews with 320 women from San Borja, Bolivia were conducted and show that contraceptive knowledge is a strong predictor of age at first birth, but embodied capital theory is the best predictor for overall fertility.