An article by William Axinn, Dirgha Ghimire, and Smily Smith-Greenaway, "Emotional Variation and Fertility Behavior," is forthcoming in Demography.
Emotional influences on fertility behaviors are an understudied topic that may offer a clear explanation of why many couples choose to have children even when childbearing is not economically rational. With setting-specific measures of the husband-wife emotional bond appropriate for large-scale population research matched with data from a long-term panel study, we have the empirical tools to provide a test of the influence of emotional factors on contraceptive use to limit fertility. This paper presents those tests. We use long-term, multilevel community and family panel data to demonstrate that the variance in levels of husband-wife emotional bond is significantly associated with their subsequent use of contraception to avert births. The paper discusses the wide-ranging implications of this intriguing new result.