The Role of Social and Cultural Capital in Fertility Preference and Contraceptive Use

Kriti Vikram, University of Maryland

This paper explores the impact of social and cultural capital on fertility preference and contraceptive use in India.I find that the influence of social capital varies by the broader social and normative context. This study also highlights the need to distinguish between the kinds of social capital, for ties to traditional social capital operate differently from ties to development organizations. Social capital when related to religious and caste-based organizations reinforces traditional attitudes and is therefore associated with larger desired family size and lower contraceptive use. Development social capital operates in the opposite direction. Cultural capital, as reflected in communication skills and confidence of the woman, is associated with contraceptive use. The impact of cultural capital also varies by region; it is a significant factor in contraceptive use in the high fertility region suggesting that cultural capital of women enables them to negotiate their preferences in contexts that promote high fertility.

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Presented in Session 47: Determinants of Fertility in Asia