Evaluating Methods for Detecting Fertility Control: Coale and Trussell's Model and Cohort Parity Analysis

Barbara S. Okun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In their attempts to distinguish empirically between the innovation/diffusion and adaptation views of fertility transition, researchers have pointed out that evidence of fertility control practised by a significant proportion of women in pre-transition populations would render claims that fertility fell as a result of innovative behaviour less convincing. This paper uses simulation techniques to evaluate the ability of two indirect measures of fertility control, Coale and Trussell’s model (M & m) and Cohort Parity Analysis (CPA), to identify the presence or absence of fertility controllers, as well as to detect changes in the extent of control. We conclude that neither M & m nor CPA can be relied on to identify accurately a minority of controllers in a population of interest. These findings suggest the need for a reassessment of some of the evidence cited in the debate over alternative theories of fertility decline.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)193-222
Number of pages30
JournalPopulation Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
University. I would also like to thank Ansley Coale, Dov Friedlander, and Jona Schellekens for comments and advice. This research was supported by Grant 1-ROl -HD29155-01 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. t Department of Demography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. x G. Carlsson, 'The decline of fertility: innovation or adjustment process', Population Studies 20 (1966), pp. 149-174; T. Guinnane, B. S. Okun and T. J. Trussell, 'What do we know about the timing of historical fertility transitions in Europe?', Demography 31 (1994); J. Cleland and C. Wilson, 'Demand theories of the fertility transition: an iconoclastic view', Population Studies 41 (1987), pp. 5-30; L. Rosero-Bixby and J. Casterline, 'Modelling diffusion effects in fertility transition', Population Studies 47 (1993), pp. 147-


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