Land cover change and fertility in West-Central Africa: rural livelihoods and the vicious circle model

Isaac Sasson, Alexander Weinreb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The vicious circle argument, rooted in a neo-Malthusian tradition, states that resource scarcity increases the demand for child labor and leads to higher fertility. The rural livelihood framework, on the other hand, contends that households employ multiple strategies, only one of which involves adjusting their fertility levels as a response to environmental pressures. This study provides a unique test of both theories by examining the relationship between land cover change and fertility across hundreds of rural communities in four West-Central African countries. The findings reveal a complex relationship between natural capital and fertility. In communities where natural capital was initially low, a further decline in that capital is associated with both higher fertility preferences and levels. However, we find that fertility preferences and behavior are often discordant, with notable within-community differences in response to decline in natural capital across levels of household wealth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-368
Number of pages24
JournalPopulation and Environment
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Environment
  • Fertility
  • Natural capital
  • Rural livelihood
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Vicious circle

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Land cover change and fertility in West-Central Africa: rural livelihoods and the vicious circle model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this