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Social Transmission and the Spread of Modern Contraception in Rural Ethiopia

Alvergne, A; Gurmu, E; Gibson, MA; Mace, R; (2011) Social Transmission and the Spread of Modern Contraception in Rural Ethiopia. PLOS ONE , 6 (7) , Article e22515. 10.1371/journal.pone.0022515. Green open access

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Abstract

Socio-economic development has proven to be insufficient to explain the time and pace of the human demographic transition. Shifts to low fertility norms have thus been thought to result from social diffusion, yet to date, micro-level studies are limited and are often unable to disentangle the effect of social transmission from that of extrinsic factors. We used data which included the first ever use of modern contraception among a population of over 900 women in four villages in rural Ethiopia, where contraceptive prevalence is still low (<20%). We investigated whether the time of adoption of modern contraception is predicted by (i) the proportion of ever-users/non ever-users within both women and their husbands' friendships networks and (ii) the geographic distance to contraceptive ever-users. Using a model comparison approach, we found that individual socio-demographic characteristics (e.g. parity, education) and a religious norm are the most likely explanatory factors of temporal and spatial patterns of contraceptive uptake, while the role of person-to-person contact through either friendship or spatial networks remains marginal. Our study has broad implications for understanding the processes that initiate transitions to low fertility and the uptake of birth control technologies in the developing world.

Type: Article
Title: Social Transmission and the Spread of Modern Contraception in Rural Ethiopia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022515
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0022515
Language: English
Additional information: © 2011 Alvergne et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. AA is a Newton fellow funded by the Royal Society and the British Academy. RM is funded by the European Research Council. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: PARENTAL INVESTMENT, DEMOGRAPHIC-TRANSITION, FERTILITY TRANSITIONS, LONGITUDINAL ANALYSIS, NETWORKS, EVOLUTIONARY, WOMEN, IDENTIFICATION, BANGLADESH, BEHAVIOR
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1322288
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