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Developing countries and fertility: role of agricultural technology

Sharmistha Self (Department of Economics, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, USA)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Article publication date: 27 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of agricultural technology on fertility rates in developing countries.


It is hypothesized here that agricultural technology transforms production techniques and labor demand patterns which affect fertility rates. The hypothesis is tested empirically using ordinary least squares as well as instrumental variables estimation techniques.


The results show that agricultural technology has a direct and indirect negative impact on fertility. Once technology is divided into mechanical and biochemical technology, one finds stronger evidence of mechanical technology being the driving force behind reducing fertility.

Research limitations/implications

This paper's main limitation is that it does not take regional, sub‐regional and intra‐country variations into account. Future research should focus on these areas.

Practical implications

The policy implication of these results would be for governments of developing countries to concentrate on modernizing the existing agricultural sector while absorbing more women in the formal labor force.


This paper adds meaningfully to research in an area that has received limited attention thus far. The results of this paper will be of value to researchers in economic development and policy makers in developing countries.



Self, S. (2008), "Developing countries and fertility: role of agricultural technology", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 62-75.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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