Volume 19 - Article 31 | Pages 1205–1216  

Biological and sociological interpretations of age-adjustment in studies of higher order birth rates

By Mette Gerster, Niels Keiding


Several studies of the effect of education on second or third birth rates (e.g. Hoem et al. (2001)) have used the concept of relative age at previous birth (B.Hoem (1996)). B.Hoem's idea was to focus on the social meaning of age at previous birth. We broaden the discussion by considering other interpretations of the explanatory power of the age at previous birth, particularly via known trends in biological fecundity. A mathematical analysis of the approach reveals side effects that have not been taken sufficiently into account. Our recommendation is not to use the relative age approach without supplementing it with the more traditional approach which includes the actual age at previous birth.

Author's Affiliation

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Education and second birth rates in Denmark 1981-1994
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Cause-specific measures of life years lost
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Rates of induced abortion in Denmark according to age, previous births and previous abortions
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Modelling regional variation of first-time births in Denmark 1980-1994 by an age-period-cohort model
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