Female Employment and Fertility in Lima, Peru
With rising levels of education, urbanization, and industrialization, modernizing areas can anticipate that increasing numbers of women will enter the labor force. A popular hypothesis among demographers suggests that the employment of females in nonagricultural occupations depresses fertility. Moreover, such a belief is frequently voiced by policy makers in modernizing areas, and helps to rationalize their failure to initiate direct measures of fertility control.
A recent ecological analysis based on Peruvian census data of 1940 revealed that among the twenty-one nonmetropolitan departments, completed fertility showed a fairly high negative correlation with female employment. The author concludes that "female labor force participation in Peru reduces fertility by reducing the fertility of married women…. The use of some birth control method allows married women to work. On the other hand, the necessity to work encourages the conscious control of births."1
The data used in the above-mentioned study are subject to the usual limitations of ecological data. Moreover, even if a relation between fertility and employment exists, we may question the assumption that birth control practices are motivated by the____________________