The influence of womens status on fertility behavior between Taiwan and China - a multilevel analysis

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Doctor of Philosophy
Title The influence of womens status on fertility behavior between Taiwan and China - a multilevel analysis
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
Since 1949 Taiwan and China have been governed by different political regimes.
Nevertheless, after more than fifty years, research shows that women in both societies
now enjoy significantly higher social status and have lower fertility rates. Despite welldocumented
literature on the relationship between fertility and women’s status in Taiwan
and China, no systematic empirical research has compared the two. This dissertation was
designed to investigate the effects of women’s status on fertility and sterilization
behaviors in China and Taiwan by means of multi-level analysis focusing on women’s
education levels and employment status as predictors at both the individual and
aggregate levels. To examine the influence of enforced policy, in China’s models,
variables were added about whether the participants had a government-issued one-child
certificate or had complied with the childbirth quota set by local authorities.
Most results are consistent with our hypotheses. At the macro level, female college
graduation rate is significant in Taiwan but not in China. One-child certificate rate is
significantly correlated with provincial-level number of Child Ever Born (CEB). At the
micro level of Poisson and logistic models, women with status are significantly more
likely to have smaller numbers of CEB and lower sterilization usage. Survival analysis
that simultaneously analyzed time duration and event occurrence showed dynamic
effects of women’s status on the probability of a first, second and third childbirth.
The Hierarchical Generalized Linear Models (HGLM) method shows both some
direct and some interactive effects of contextual variables on fertility and contraceptive
behaviors. In both countries, wives’ educational levels showed the greatest numbers of
significant correlations with the dependent variables. Both Western socioeconomically
based demographic transition theory and Asian planned demographic transition theory in
China receive empirical support in the findings.
Methodological and policy implications for future studies are discussed. The
findings of this dissertation, particularly the micro-macro linkages, contribute to an
explanation of how higher women’s status and lower fertility rates across the two
regimes emerged from both common and disparate processes. This dissertation also
illustrates how multi-level investigations of fertility and women’s status could be
implemented in other parts of the world.

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