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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - American Journal of Sociology
Title Natural intentions: fertility decline in the African demographic and health surveys
Author(s)
Volume 112
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 1008
URL http://www.demog.berkeley.edu/~johnsonhanks/Natural intentions.pdf
Abstract
Many recent models of society treat certain forms of action as revealing individualintentions, aspirations, or preferences. For example, formal models of fertility declinefollowing Henry and Coale take specific childbearing distributions to indicate “naturalfertility,” where couples take no intentional action to manage their reproduction. Thispaper argues that this mode of inference can be valid only when the cultural repertoiresthat mediate between intentions and actions are well-established. Using data from 18African countries, I compare women’s self-reported intentions to those attributed to themunder standard demographic models and find significant discrepancies. The linkbetween intentions and outcomes is itself a social product

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