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Evaluating Methods for Detecting Fertility Control: Coale and Trussell's Model and Cohort Parity Analysis

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In their attempts to distinguish empirically between the innovation/diffusion and adaptation views of fertility transition, researchers have pointed out that evidence of fertility control practised by a significant proportion of women in pre-transition populations would render claims that fertility fell as a result of innovative behaviour less convincing. This paper uses simulation techniques to evaluate the ability of two indirect measures of fertility control, Coale and Trussell's model (M & m) and Cohort Parity Analysis (CPA), to identify the presence or absence of fertility controllers, as well as to detect changes in the extent of control. We conclude that neither M & m nor CPA can be relied on to identify accurately a minority of controllers in a population of interest. These findings suggest the need for a reassessment of some of the evidence cited in the debate over alternative theories of fertility decline.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Demography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Publication date: July 1, 1994

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