Addressing High Fertility and Low Women’s Work Participation: An Empirical Reflection on India




Das Gupta, Debasree

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The window of a one-time economic benefit from “demographic dividend” presents itself as countries undergoing the demographic transition experience fertility decline and a rising share of women in the workforce. India is projected to enter the optimal period of that phase in 2015. Yet, in this soon to become most populous nation of the world, persisting trends of high fertility in the North and low levels of economic activity among urban women pose a dual problem. Conceived against this context, the aim of this dissertation is to investigate regional variations in aggregate level outcomes in fertility and women’s work. Using techniques from empirical spatial econometrics, fertility and women’s work is modeled across the cross of section of Indian districts in 2001. The key findings of this research highlight cultural diffusion as a salient factor for accelerating fertility decline in the North and identify a greater negative effect of fertility in cities outside of farm and nonfarm family based work. The policy implications and relevance of this research for other developing countries are discussed at conclusion.



Diffusion, Female work participation, Fertility, India, Spatial regression