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Impact of fertility on objective and subjective poverty in Malawi

Mussa, Richard (2009): Impact of fertility on objective and subjective poverty in Malawi.

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Abstract

The paper uses data from the Second Malawi Integrated Household Survey (IHS2) to investigate the impact of fertility on poverty in rural Malawi. We use two measures of poverty; the objective and the subjective. After accounting for endogeneity of fertility by using son preference as an instrumental variable, we �nd that fertility increases the probability of being objectively poor. This e¤ect is robust for all poverty lines used.It is also robust to accounting for economies of scale and household composition as well as assuming that poverty is continuous. We also �nd that when fertility is treated as an exogenous variable its impact is underestimated. When poverty is measured subjectively, the results are opposite to those of objective poverty. We �nd that fertility lowers the likelihood of feeling poor, and that fertility is exogenous with respect to subjective poverty.

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