Publication Abstract

Thornton, Arland, Alexandra Achen, Jennifer S. Barber, Georgina Binstock, Wade M. Garrison, Dirgha J. Ghimire, Wang Guangzhou, Ronald Inglehart, Rukmalie Jayakody, Yang Jiang, Julie de Jong, Katherine King, Ron J. Lesthaeghe, Sohair Mehenna, Colter Mitchell, Mansoor Moaddel, Norbert Schwarz, Yu Xie, Li-Shou Yang, Linda Young-DeMarco, and Kathryn M. Yount. 2010. “Creating Questions and Protocols for an International Study of Ideas About Development and Family Life.” Pp. 59-74 in Survey Methods in Multinational, Multiregional and Multicultural Contexts, edited by M. Braun, B. Edwards, J. Harkness, T. Johnson, L. Lyberg, P. Mohler, B.E. Pennell, and T.W. Smith. Hoboken. NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

This chapter describes creation and testing of procedures and instruments for use in international comparative research. It describes how the authors began their work with no existing measures of the theoretical concepts, and worked to construct and test a battery of measures for use. The chapter briefly explains the developmental model and its basic propositions about social change. It describes the organizational approach and initial steps in designing projects in several countries. The chapter explains how the authors used the experience and knowledge accumulated from their work in individual countries to prepare questionnaires and protocols for use in deliberately comparative projects. It discusses specific problems they encountered, along with lessons learned. The chapter provides preliminary evidence of the degree to which the authors were successful in measuring aspects of developmental thinking. Finally, it discusses the implications of the authors’ experience for other researchers who may design international data collections.

DOI: 10.1002/9780470609927.ch4

Publication Abstract

Massey, Douglas S., William G. Axinn, and Dirgha J. Ghimire. 2010. “Environmental Change and Out-Migration: Evidence from Nepal.” Population and Environment 32(2):109-136.

Scholars and activists have hypothesized a connection between environmental change and out-migration. In this paper, we test this hypothesis using data from Nepal. We operationalize environmental change in terms of declining land cover, rising times required to gather organic inputs, increasing population density, and perceived declines in agricultural productivity. In general, environmental change is more strongly related to short- than long-distance moves. Holding constant the effects of other social and economic variables, we find that local moves are predicted by perceived declines in productivity, declining land cover, and increasing time required to gather firewood. Long-distance moves are predicted by perceived declines in productivity, but the effect is weaker than in the model of short-distance mobility. We also show that effects of environmental change vary by gender and ethnicity, with women being more affected by changes in the time required to gather fodder and men by changes in the time to gather firewood, and high-caste Hindus generally being less affect than others by environmental change.

DOI: 10.1007/s11111-010-0119-8

PMCID: PMC3042700

Publication Abstract

Ghimire, Dirgha J., and William G. Axinn. 2010. “Community Context, Land Use and First Birth.” Rural Sociology 75(3):478-513.

This paper examines the influence of community context and land use on the monthly odds of first birth in a society in the midst of dramatic fertility transition. The theoretical framework guiding our work predicts that proximity to non-family services should delay first births by creating opportunities for competing non-family activities and spreading new ideas that change expectations about family life. On the other hand, living in agricultural settings that provide opportunities for higher returns to the child labor should speed first births. We use a longitudinal, multilevel, mixed-method data from the Nepalese Himalayas to test these predictions. The empirical results reveal that non-family services during childhood and during early adulthood both have important independent influences on the odds of first birth. Also, as predicted, a high density of agricultural land use affects the odds of first births in the opposite direction, speeding first births. This clear pattern of contrasting effects provides important new evidence of the contextual dynamics that produce watershed changes in post-marital birth timing.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1549-0831.2010.00019.x

PMCID: PMC2945390

Publication Abstract

Axinn, William G., Jennifer S. Barber, and Ann E. Biddlecom. 2010. “Social Organization and the Transition from Direct to Indirect Consumption.” Social Science Research 39:357-368.

This paper presents a new theoretical framework for the study of environmental consumption at the micro-level by building on concepts from classical sociological theory and recent macro-level studies of the environment. The framework emphasizes the local community context as an important determinant of environmental consumption. We test this framework with unique micro-level data on consumption, household size, household affluence, and community context from Nepal, a setting in the midst of dramatic change in community organization, population size, and consumption behavior. The results of these tests are consistent with the hypothesis that local nonfamily organizations shift the consumption of environmental resources from direct to more indirect. We argue that the framework presented here is a useful early step toward more comprehensive micro-level models of environmental quality.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.01.001

PMCID: PMC2877213

Publication Abstract

Massey, Douglas S., Nathalie E. Williams, William G. Axinn, and Dirgha J. Ghimire. 2010. “Community Services and Out-Migration.” International Migration 48(3):1-41.

This paper investigates the relationship between changing community context and out-migration in one of today’s poor countries, seeking to document the various mechanisms by which infrastructure affects the migratory behavior. We focus on the expansion of social and physical facilities and services near to rural people’s homes, including transportation, new markets, employment, schools, health clinics, and mass media outlets such as movie halls. We draw upon detailed data from Nepal to estimate the hypothesized effects. The direct effects of expanding economic and human capital infrastructure are clearly negative, reducing out-migration. However, increased economic infrastructure is associated with a greater accumulation of human and social capital among respondents and their parents. Through these intervening mechanisms, economic and social infrastructure increased the odds of migrating out. These results reveal the often countervailing nature of short- and long-term effects of economic and social change and the complex pathways influencing migration outcomes.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2435.2009.00581.x

PMCID: PMC3146299

Publication Abstract

Brauner-Otto, Sarah R., and William G. Axinn. 2010. “Parental Family Experiences, the Timing of First Sex, and Contraception.” Social Science Research 39(6):875-893.

By investigating the intergenerational consequences of multiple aspects of family experiences across the life course this paper advances what we know about the forces shaping children’s initiation of sexual and contraceptive behaviors. Our aim is to advance the scientific understanding of early sexual experiences by explicitly considering contraceptive use and by differentiating between the consequences of parental family experiences during childhood and those during adolescence and young adulthood. Thanks to unique, highly detailed data measuring parental family experiences throughout the life course and sexual dynamics early in life it is possible to provide detailed empirical estimates of the relationship between parental family experiences and contraceptive use at first sex—a relationship about which we know relatively little. Findings reveal (1) significant simultaneous consequences of many different dimensions of parental family experiences for the timing of first sex and the likelihood of using contraception at first sex, but the specific dimensions of family important for the specific behavior vary across racial groups; and (2) that parental family experiences influence the timing of sex and contraceptive use differently.

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2010.06.015

PMCID: PMC2978908