The Impact of Sociopolitical Instability on Demographic Behavior (USSR/Post-Soviet Russia: A Case Study)

Yuri Frantsuz , Institute of Sociology of Russian Academy of Sciences
Eduard Ponarin, National Research Institte-High School of Economics

This paper investigates the impact of sociopolitical instability on fertility. We develop a model linking macro-level instability with perceptions of it as uncertainty on the micro-level and their impact on decision-making and fertility outcomes. This model is based on a modified version of the uncertainty reduction theory. We stipulate that higher fertility rates may reflect people’s effort to reduce uncertainty in the periods of higher instability. We test and partially confirm this model by application of an APC analysis to fertility data from the Soviet and post-Soviet Russia from 1959 through 1998. The testing allowed explaining some of the sudden short-term fluctuations in fertility during the period of research interest that other social and demographic theories failed to interpret. Our findings lead us to certain suggestions in the way of refinement of the uncertainty reduction theory. Furthermore, our model relates various types, intensities and magnitudes of instabilities to fertility outcomes.

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 Presented in Session 126. Effects of Economic and Political Uncertainty on Fertility