This paper suggests that secularization is one of the driving forces behind the great fertility decline that developing countries are currently undergoing. While large families are valued in gender-stratified and collectivist societies, individualistic and secular societies emphasize gender equality and low fertility. Standard fertility models extended with culture are estimated using data for 92 developing countries over the period 1960-2010. External instruments are used to deal with endogeneity. It is found that secularization and reduced infant mortality can explain the bulk of the fertility decline between 1960 and 2010, while income, urbanization and female education have not been robust determinants of the fertility decline.
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The 9th Australasian Development Economics Workshop 2013