Why do we still see very high fertility rates in Zambia when women want to have fewer children and are open to the use of contraceptives?
Throughout history as countries have got richer, fertility rates have declined. Yet, in sub-Saharan Africa, fertility rates are not declining as quickly as expected. Alessandra Voena, from the University of Chicago, analyses the impact of an innovative experiment in Zambia, which provides maternal mortality information to households. The researchers find that one year after the intervention, households who received this information were half as likely to have further children compared to those that did not. Interestingly, the effect is driven by the households where it is the husband who received the information.