Peers and fertility preferences: An empirical investigation of the role of neighbours, religion and education

Ankita Mishra, Jaai Parasnis

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Individual fertility preference is influenced by observed social norms. The present paper investigates the effect of the observed fertility of peers on a woman’s fertility preference. We explore the role of two peer groups: neighbourhood peers and religious peers. Data from the National Family Health Surveys (1992–1993, 1998–1999 and 2005–2006) in India is employed for empirical estimations using a multinomial logit model. We find that both neighbourhood and religious peers have a significant impact on individual fertility preferences, but their relative importance changes with family size. An increase in peer fertility increases the probability of preferring more children. We further examine the roles of education and wealth as transmission channels between the fertility norms of peers to the fertility preferences of the women and find that education plays an important role in moderating peer influences. These findings can serve as vital inputs in formulating family planning and gender policies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-357
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • peer effects
  • multinomial logit
  • fertility
  • India
  • education
  • wealth status

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