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Adult Mortality, AIDS, and Fertility in Rural Malawi

Journal article
Authors Dick Durevall
Annika Lindskog
Published in The Developing Economies
Volume 54
Issue 3
Pages 215-242
ISSN 0012-1533
Publication year 2016
Published at Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
Department of Economics
Pages 215-242
Language en
Keywords AIDS, Demand for children, Fertility, HIV, Old age security
Subject categories Economics


The future course of fertility is a major determinant of economic development in many sub-Saharan countries, so understanding how HIV/AIDS affects childbearing is of great interest. We show that fertility responds negatively to female mortality and positively to male mortality and that the overall fertility response is small. The negative effect of female mortality is in line with earlier studies that only focus on women and their infection and mortality risks, while the finding of a positive effect of adult-male mortality is novel. One interpretation of this finding is that women who perceive a high risk of their husbands’ or grown-up sons’ deaths are likely to want to have more children to ensure future support.

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