Explaining the decline in fertility among citizens of the GCC countries: The case of the UAE

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Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues


© Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – This paper aims to examine certain factors that have contributed to the decline in fertility in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in recent years, taking the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a case study. Design/methodology/approach – Using data from the 2008 UAE Household Expenditure Survey, this paper analyzes the determinants of fertility using a Poisson fertility count model. Findings – The results show that economic factors, in terms of the costs and benefits that families derive from children in the UAE, are not important determinants of fertility due to the large size of social insurance provided by the UAE Government. Moreover, labor market participation by either males or females does not play a critical role in determining fertility in the UAE. The two primary causes of decline in fertility are: late marriages or late first births; and higher levels of female education. Other contributors to drops in fertility are marriages between UAE national males and foreign females and increases in childbirth intervals. Conversely, the size of household residences and the number of domestic workers working in a households contribute positively to fertility. Originality/value – Little attention has been paid in the literature to explain the fast drop in fertility in the GCC countries. This may be due to the limited availability of data for this region. This paper, to the authors’ knowledge, is the first to shed some light on the effects of many socioeconomic factors on fertility in the GCC.

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