The Social Context of First Birth Timing in Nepal

Dirgha J. Ghimire, University of Michigan

This paper examines the influence of social context on first birth timing. Drawing on socialization models, I develop a theoretical framework to explain how different aspects of social context, defined as neighbors, may affect first birth timing. I argue that neighbors as individuals' immediate social context has important influence on first birth timing. Taking advantage of a setting in the midst of dramatic social change, measures of social context designed explicitly for this purpose, and statistical analytical techniques appropriate to these measure, I develop models of the influence of social context on first birth timing. These models include innovative measures of a broad array of neighbors' experiences. Neighbors' schooling, media exposure, age at marriage, and contraceptive use also tend to reduce the first birth rate. Neighbors' non-family work and childbearing experiences, on the other hand, increase this rate. These effects are robust against several key variations in model specification.

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Presented in Session 95: Community and Neighborhood Influences on Children and Youth