Why we measure period fertility

Ní Bhrolcháin, Máire (2007) Why we measure period fertility. Southampton, GB, Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute, University of Southampton, 42pp. (S3RI Applications & Policy Working Papers, A07/04).


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Four reasons for measuring period fertility are distinguished: to explain fertility time trends, to anticipate future fertility, to construct theoretical models and to communicate with non-specialist audiences. The paper argues that not all measures are suitable for each purpose, and that tempo adjustment may be appropriate for some objectives but not others. In particular, it is argued that genuine timing effects do not bias or distort measures of period fertility as dependent variable. Several different concepts of bias or distortion are identified in relation to period fertility measures. Synthetic cohort indicators are a source of confusion since they conflate measurement and forecasting. Anticipating future fertility is more akin to forecasting than to measurement. Greater clarity about concepts and measures in the fertility arena could be achieved by a stronger emphasis on validation. Period incidence and occurrence-exposure rates have a straightforward interpretation. More complex period fertility measures are meaningful only if a direct or indirect criterion can be specified against which to evaluate them. Their performance against that criterion is what establishes them as valid or useful.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Additional Information: This paper has been superseded by S3RI working paper A08/05.
Keywords: fertility, period fertility, measurement, tempo adjustment, timing, validation, forecasting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute
ePrint ID: 46437
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
28 June 2007Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2007
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:21
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/46437

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