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Colleran H.,Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse | Colleran H.,University College London | Mace R.,University College London
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

The diffusion of ‘modern’ contraceptives—as a proxy for the spread of lowfertility norms—has long interested researchers wishing to understand global fertility decline. A fundamental question is how local cultural norms and other people’s behaviour influence the probability of contraceptive use, independent of women’s socioeconomic and life-history characteristics. However, few studies have combined data at individual, social network and community levels to simultaneously capture multiple levels of influence. Fewer still have tested if the same predictors matter for different contraceptive types. Here, we use new data from 22 high-fertility communities in Poland to compare predictors of the use of (i) any contraceptives—a proxy for the decision to control fertility—with those of (ii) ‘artificial’ contraceptives—a subset of more culturally taboo methods.We find that the contraceptive behavior of friends and family is more influential than are women’s own characteristics and that community level characteristics additionally influence contraceptive use. Highly educated neighbours accelerate women’s contraceptive use overall, but not their artificial method use. Highly religious neighbours slow women’s artificial method use, but not their contraceptive use overall. Our results highlight different dimensions of sociocultural influence on contraceptive diffusion and suggest that these may be more influential than are individual characteristics. A comparative multilevel framework is needed to understand these dynamics. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. Source

Mattoussi W.,Jendouba University | Seabright P.,Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse
American Journal of Agricultural Economics

Water theft carried out by manipulating water meters constrains volumetric pricing in semi-arid regions. Cooperative management can reduce theft and improve incentives for efficient water use by inducing peer monitoring. Using a theoretical model, we show that theft is more likely when prices are high, punishments are weak, and cooperatives are large. We also show how cooperative membership and punishment levels are determined endogenously by constraints on monitoring. We test the model on data from Tunisia for the years 2001-2003, relying on instruments that proxy for unobservable monitoring costs. The results confirm that well-designed incentives can reduce theft, and that constraints on monitoring costs affect institutional design. © 2014 The Author (2014). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. All rights reserved. Source

Blackwell A.D.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Blackwell A.D.,The History Project | Tamayo M.A.,University of Missouri | Beheim B.,The History Project | And 15 more authors.

Infection with intestinal helminths results in immunological changes that influence co-infections, and might influence fecundity by inducing immunological states affecting conception and pregnancy.We investigated associations between intestinal helminths and fertility in women, using 9 years of longitudinal data from 986 Bolivian forager-horticulturalists, experiencing natural fertility and 70% helminth prevalence.We found that different species of helminth are associated with contrasting effects on fecundity. Infection with roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) is associated with earlier first births and shortened interbirth intervals, whereas infection with hookworm is associated with delayed first pregnancy and extended interbirth intervals. Thus, helminths may have important effects on human fertility that reflect physiological and immunological consequences of infection. Source

Matlon J.,Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse

In this article I relate prominent depictions of the African urban crisis, particularly informality, and its implications for masculine subjectivity in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Drawing on five months of ethnographic fieldwork I conducted in 2008 and 2009, I consider the Sorbonne, a nationalist space in Abidjan, where partisans of former President Laurent Gbagbo contested the crisis narrative and their place in it. Literally and ideologically, Sorbonne orators and spectators moved themselves and their country from the periphery to the urban and global core. © 2013 Antipode Foundation Ltd. Source

Colleran H.,Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Cultural evolutionists have long been interested in the problem of why fertility declines as populations develop. By outlining plausible mechanistic links between individual decision-making, information flow in populations and competition between groups, models of cultural evolution offer a novel and powerful approach for integrating multiple levels of explanation of fertility transitions. However, only a modest number of models have been published. Their assumptions often differ from those in other evolutionary approaches to social behaviour, but their empirical predictions are often similar. Here I offer the first overview of cultural evolutionary research on demographic transition, critically compare it with approaches taken by other evolutionary researchers, identify gaps and overlaps, and highlight parallel debates in demography. I suggest that researchers divide their labour between three distinct phases of fertility decline—the origin, spread and maintenance of low fertility— each of which may be driven by different causal processes, at different scales, requiring different theoretical and empirical tools. A comparative, multi-level and mechanistic framework is essential for elucidating both the evolved aspects of our psychology that govern reproductive decisionmaking, and the social, ecological and cultural contingencies that precipitate and sustain fertility decline. © 2016 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Source

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