Do Kenyan households choose between family size and child schooling: an application of Becker's --Quality model
Gichuhi, Loise Wambui
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World population has been increasing at an increasing rate more so in developing countries. Rapid population growth is exacerbating world development problem and making it more difficult to raise average level of welfare, and raising the level of human capital which is a primary issue in an economy's development. Kenya's contribution to this world population is alarming. Kenya had one of the highest rates of population increase in the world for the period 1979-1989 with a projection of further increase (35 million by the year 2000). This situation is a disturbing one noting the role the Family Planning Association of Kenya plays by educating through all possible means and media - the side effects of high population as well as the possible solutions it offers to the public. This study is an attempt to find out whether Kenyan families trade off between child quality and the child quantity (family size). Education expenditure per child household is taken as proxy for child quality. If families can trade off child quantity for child quality, then the population increase can be curtailed, a process that can supplement family planning programs. However, this study is a single period study. It may therefore not capture long-term changes in household choices induced by persistent rise in the value of human capital. This has policy implication on family planning. If persistent increase in the value of human capital can induce households to trade off child quantity for child quality, it implies that family planning programs can be enhanced by long-term macroeconomic policies which raise the value of human capital. A total of 112 women from different households participated in the study. These were randomly selected from all women in the household aged 16-49. Cluster sampling method was used to get the households. From the five divisions of Nyeri District two clusters were taken randomly to make a total of ten clusters. 15 households were considered from each cluster 112 women participated satisfactorily. Regression methods were used to analyze the data. The trade off expected between quantity of children and their quality was not apparent. The two variables had a positive relationship. The positive relationship is not a surprise when we consider some of the characteristics of developing economies; children are considered as investment good, a device for attaining income security in old age, extended family system where parents do not bear the full cost of educating their children relatives and friends chip in some money was also a possible factor.