By Lawrence J. Severy
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Extra resources for Advances in Population 3
For example, a recent analysis by Akerlof, Yellen and Katz (1996) of the causes of out-of-wedlock childbearing highlighted the effects of 'exogenous technological shocks', namely the development of the birth control pill and the legalization of abortion. Their analysis neglected the social forces operating to create these 'shocks' and the likely impact of those forces in influencing sexual and reproductive behaviors. Similarly, analyses of public policies have not always taken into account the fact that policies tend to follow public opinion and the evolving moral 'climate'; thus they cannot be treated as purely exogenous (Hotz et al.
My approach to this is inherently personal, 1 reflecting my own biases and intellectual values, as well as my vantage point as director of an extramural population studies program with a broad mission in basic research. The advantage of having a broad view is that one has the opportunity to connect ideas emerging from one domain with those emerging elsewhere; the disadvantage is the difficulty in achieving depth in any one domain. This chapter touches on many different scientific currents that I believe should be central to future research on fertility.
Even the Severy chapter arguing for the joining of acceptability to clinical trials of contracep- Page xv tive efficacy can be seen as reflective of the 'marriage' of biological and social factors. As for some of the thematic 'constants', the old axiom that 'the more things change, the more they stay the same' is perfectly relevant for this third volume. Both of us remain interested in the study of couples, the importance of accounting for data from both partners, female and male roles, and the way in which couples come to fertility decisions.
Advances in Population 3 by Lawrence J. Severy