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Religion and Fertility in East Asia: Evidence from the East Asian Social Survey

Bessey, Donata (2016): Religion and Fertility in East Asia: Evidence from the East Asian Social Survey.

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Abstract

This article analyzes the effect of religious affiliation on fertility in Japan, Korea and the Republic of China (Taiwan). It adds to the sparse empirical evidence on the effects of religious affiliation on fertility in East Asia, for both Abrahamic and other religions. It uses an identity-economic model and analyzes prescriptions among the different religions to derive testable hypotheses about the effect of religions on fertility. In the empirical section, the East Asian Social Survey (EASS) and a generalized Poisson model are used to estimate the effects of different religions on fertility. In line with theoretical predictions, the empirical results suggest that the positive effect of Catholicism on fertility that has disappeared in both Europe and the US in past decades is still present in East Asia. In line with the sparse previous empirical evidence on Buddhism, it seems to have no effect on fertility.

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