Fertility and wealth in Sri Lanka: Are children normal goods?

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


In summary, Weerasinghe and Parr are to be congratulated for contributing to our understanding of the raw correlation of wealth and fertility. They have solid evidence that availability of modern contraception is unlikely to account for the differences, which will lead some to look deeper into the data on traditional fertility-lowering practices (13). Readers looking for the paper that will prove to economists and Malthusians that children are NOT consumer durables will have to remain disappointed (18). Whether the Sri Lankan reductions in fertility are mediated by wealth itself or by confounding on the price of child quality, parental wages, or old-age support must remain a mystery. Since all of these factors will tend to move together, it is safe to bet that Sri Lankan fertility will decline further in the future. Policy-makers interested in accelerating fertility decline in Sri Lanka may be interested in policy options other than spreading wealth and higher wages. We remain in dire need of further research on the fertility-reducing role of more widely available child schooling and healthcare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-101
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Health Population and Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 26 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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