Fertility Theory: Caldwell's Theory of Intergenerational Wealth Flows

John Caldwell's wealth flows theory proposes a direct link between family structure and fertility

H.S. Kaplan; J. Bock

2004

Scholarcy highlights

  • John Caldwell's wealth flows theory proposes a direct link between family structure and fertility
  • In ‘modern’ industrial societies with net downward wealth flows, the economically rational decision is to have no children or the minimum number allowed by a psychological disposition that derives pleasure from children and parenting
  • The most serious challenge to this theory has come from evolutionary biologists
  • The argument that prior to modernization, upward wealth flows characterized human family structures is inherently antithetical to theory in evolutionary biology
  • The wealth flows theory of fertility transition is a major contribution to demography
  • The theory helped to lay the groundwork for theories of the family to become a major perspective within the field of demography, and broadened the scope of demography by directing attention to culture

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