FRIDMAN, SAMUEL; PHD
                         CORNELL UNIVERSITY, 1984

                         SOCIOLOGY, DEMOGRAPHY (0938)

                         Evidence of geographic patterns in fertility transition, although scattered, abounds in the literature. The
                         overall picture suggests a process of spatial diffusion in the acceptance of contraception. A framework is
                         developed in which individual and aggregate patterns are rendered comparable. It is hypothesized that
                         the spatial spread of contraception is related to normative prescriptions which, in turn, differ and change
                         predictably across space. Unmeasurable patterns of normative change can thus be better understood by
                         analyzing a quantifiable phenomenon: the spatial diffusion of contraception. A longitudinal model is
                         specified to test causal processes along the reproductive lifetime of individuals. The timing of a fertility
                         related event, e.g., marriage, is seen as crucial in determining the timing of subsequent events such as
                         the adoption of contraception. The main dependent variable is the delay of contraceptive adoption given
                         knowledge. Distance to innovation centers is hypothesized to relate positively to this delay and
                         negatively to the probabilities of adoption. To the extent that aggregate fertility reflects contraceptive
                         behavior, distance should relate positively to aggregate fertility. Costa Rica is used as a case study. Data
                         in micro level analyses were obtained from the Costa Rican round of the World Fertility Survey and from a
                         reinterview of married women included in the WFS survey. Aggregate data for 60 Costa Rican cantons
                         were derived from vital statistics and from 1963 and 1973 census results. Empirically, individual and
                         aggregate location effects support the main hypothesis. Spatial effects also decline with time,
                         suggesting that normative opposition to contraception loses ground, literally, as time advances. Spatial
                         effects are found in marriage and education patterns too. Their inclusion as controls does not affect our
                         main finding: spatial patterns of fertility and birth control represent another dimension in the process of
                         diffusion of new norms. Results from this study suggest that spatial processes of normative diffusion, at
                         least those that occur during fertility declines, may not be eliminated altogether. They also suggest that
                         behavioral changes may be accelerated by earlier awareness of the innovative ideas linked to an
                         emerging norm--in this case, to deliberate birth control.


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