In theory, demographers expect fertility declines to create a window of opportunity during which countries can invest in socioeconomic development. Global policy makers, including the United Nations and World Bank, wish to understand whether/how they can seize this opportunity to promote socioeconomic progress. This is one area where research can usefully guide policy. Good research here could improve the schooling opportunities and the lives of millions of children throughout the developing world and mostly throughout the seven sub-Saharan African countries that we are currently studying.
After spending the last two years refining the analytical tools to use, I am now applying these tools to analyze data from seven African countries and sharing the findings with policy makers working in the sub-Saharan region.
The final impacts are still to come. In the near future, I will be completing a set of data analyses that will show results on how much / and under what conditions do national declines in fertility make a difference. These analyses are so far confined to seven countries and they use data that is incomplete. I have submitted proposals to seek outside funding and collect more detailed information that will further refine our understanding of whether national declines in fertility will help most African countries` efforts to reduce poverty.