Localization of Determinants of Fertility through Measurement Adaptations in Developing-Country Settings: The Case of Iran; Comment on “Analysis of Economic Determinants of Fertility in Iran: A Multilevel Approach”

Document Type : Commentary


Department of Sociology, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada


Studies investigating fertility decline in developing countries often adopt measures of determinants of fertility behavior developed based on observations from developed countries, without adapting them to the realities of the study setting. As a result, their findings are usually invalid, anomalous or statistically non-significant. This commentary draws on the research article by Moeeni and colleagues, as an exemplary work which has not adapted measures of two key economic determinants of fertility behavior, namely gender inequality and opportunity costs of childbearing, to the realities of Iran’s economy. Measurement adaptations that can improve the study are discussed.


Main Subjects

1. Population Reference Bureau. 2014 World Population Data Sheet. Population Reference Bureau: Washington D.C.; 2014.
2. Erfani A, McQuillan K. Rapid fertility decline in Iran: analysis of intermediate variables. J Biosoc Sci 2008; 40: 459-78. doi: 10.1017/S002193200700243X
3. Erfani A. Fertility in Tehran city and Iran: rates, trends and differentials. Population Studies 2013; (1): 87-107. [in Persian]
4. Morgan PS, Taylor MG. Low fertility at the turn of the twenty-first century. Annu Rev Sociol 2006; 32: 375-99. doi: 10.1146/annurev.soc.31.041304.122220
5. Caldwell JC, Schindlmayr T. Explanations of the fertility crisis in modern societies: a search for commonalities. Popul Stud 2003; 57: 241-63. doi: 10.1080/0032472032000137790
6. Mills M, Blossfeld HP, Klijzing E. Becoming an adult in uncertain times: A 14-country comparison of the losers of globalization. In: Blossfeld HP, Klijzing E, Mills M, Kurz K. editors. Globalization, uncertainty and youth in society. London/New York: Routledge Advances in Sociology Series; 2005. p. 393-411.
7. Kohler HP, Billari FC, Ortega JA. The emergence of the lowest-low fertility in Europe during the 1990s. Popul Dev Rev 2002; 28: 641-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2002.00641.x
8. Becker GS. A treatise on the family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1981.
9. McDonald P. Gender equity and theories of fertility transition. Popul Dev Rev 2000; 26: 427-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2000.00427.x
10. Lesthaeghe R. The second demographic transition in Western countries: An interpretation. In: Mason KD, Jensen AM, editors. Gender and Family Change in Industrialized Countries. New York: Oxford University Press; 1995. p. 17-62.
11. Van de Kaa DJ. Europe’s second demographic transition. Popul Bull 1987; 42: 1-59.
Mirzaie M. Swings in fertility limitation in Iran. Critique Crit Middle East Stud 2005; 14: 25-33. doi: 10.1080/10669920500056973
12. Aghajanian A. A new direction in population policy and family planning in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Asia Pac Popul 1995; 10: 3-20.
13. Abbasi-Shavazi MJ, McDonald P, Hosseini-Chavoshi M. The fertility transition in Iran: revolution and reproduction. New York: Springer; 2009.
14. Raftery EA, Lewis SM, Aghajanian A. Demand or ideation? Evidence from the marital fertility decline. Demography 1995; 32: 159-82. doi: 10.2307/2061738
15. Salehi-Isfahani D, Tandon A. Fertility transition or intertemporal substitution in postrevolutionary Iran? Evidence from household data. Unpublished paper, Department of Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; 1999.
16. Mansoorian M, Fernando R. Analysis of relative risks of early births in Iran: before and after the Islamic Revolution. Discussion Paper No. 93-1, Population Studies Centre, University of Western Ontario; 1993.
17. Erfani A, McQuillan K. The changing timing of births in Iran: An explanation on the rise and fall in fertility after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Biodemography Soc Biol 2014; 60: 67-86. doi: 10.1080/19485565.2014.899428
18. Mansoorian M. Determinants of birth interval dynamics in Kohgylooye and Bovairahmad province, Iran. J Comp Fam Stud 2008; 39: 165–85.
19. Rasekh A, Momtaz M. The determinants of birth interval in Ahvaz-Iran: a graphical chain modelling approach. J Data Sci 2007; 5: 555-76.
20. Shapiro D, Tombashe BO. Kinshasa in Transition:  Women’s Education, Employment, and Fertility. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2003.
21. Heckman JJ. Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error.  Econometrica 1979; 47: 153-61. doi: 10.2307/1912352
22. Moeeni M, Pourreza A, Torabi F, Heydari H, Mahmoudi M. Analysis of economic determinants of fertility in Iran: a multilevel approach. Int J Health Policy Manag 2014; 3: 135-44. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2014.78
23. Statistical Center of Iran. Iran Statistical Yearbook 2011. Tehran: Statistical Center of Iran; 2012. [Cited 2014 November 24]. Available from: http://salnameh.sci.org.ir
24. Erfani A. Women’s education and the transition to motherhood in Tehran, Iran. International Conference on Education and the Global Fertility Transition; 2011 Nov 30-Dec; Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, Vienna, Austria.
25. Erfani A. Family planning and women’s educational advancement in Iran. Can Stud Popul; forthcoming.