Global Institutional Networks and Contemporary Fertility Transitions

Arun S. Hendi, University of Pennsylvania

Global institution-building has introduced new channels of social interaction, including bilateral trade, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), and regional trade blocs, and these channels in turn have affected the direction and speed of the flow of information and ideas impinging on fertility. This paper explores the role of these modern global institutions in driving fertility change from 1960-2009. I estimate an autoregressive dyadic diffusion model to examine the impact of global institution-building on fertility change. I find that increased bilateral trade, regional integration via trade blocs, and IGO formation have had a significant impact on the diffusion of fertility behaviors through normative influence. In particular, participation in free trade agreements, engagement in bilateral trade with rich countries, and entry into IGOs like the UN and WHO that enforce global scripts all mediate cross-national interaction and produce convergence in total fertility rates between nation-states. The most efficient channel of diffusion is bilateral trade with rich countries.

  See paper

Presented in Session 185: Social Change and Fertility