Chapter

The Density of Social Networks and Fertility Decisions: Evidence from South Nyanza District, Kenya

Hans‐Peter Kohler

in Fertility and Social Interaction

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244591
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596544 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199244596.003.0003
 The Density of Social Networks and Fertility Decisions: Evidence from South Nyanza District, Kenya

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Utilizes new data gathered in South Nyanza District, Kenya, that includes egocentric social networks and measures of contraceptive prevalence among friends and investigates whether social learning or social influence constitutes the dominant mechanism through which social networks affect an individual's contraceptive decisions. This chapter argues that these mechanisms can be distinguished by analysing the density of the social network and its interaction with the proportion of contraceptive users among network partners. Our analyses indicate that in areas with high market activity, social learning is most relevant, whereas in regions with only modest market activity, social influence constitutes the dominant mechanism of how social networks affect women's contraceptive use. The chapter concludes with the development of a theoretical model of social interactions and fertility.

Keywords: contraception; diffusion; Kenya; market; social influence; social learning; social networks

Chapter.  11271 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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