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Thailand? You said? RE: Population

On Thu, 21 May 1998, Charudatt wrote:

> Two models come to mind. The Chinese model has already been discussed
> and I think we agree that it is socially unacceptable. I do recall
> reading about Thailand having a very successful program of reducing
> birthrates but I don't have any hard data [these were popular press
> articles] as to actual drops in birthrate and what factors could be
> statistically correlated with the drop. I do recall that the program
> included a huge publicity campaign and distribution of contraceptives.
> This is worth looking into.

Aha Charu!

Thailand you say? Wow! You are throwing the ball squarely into my own
court without realizing what you have done! Now you'll have no choice but
to listen to me, since I am a key player in this area, today, in the
academic world.

a) My Ph.D. dissertation is on the question of old age security motives
and the role they have played in the unbelievably rapid declines in
fertility in Thailand. The supply of contraceptives is what people think
did the trick. It did play a great role. But that was not IT! That was not
the determining factor. 

b) My study is the first, ever, based on a specific questionnaire designed
by the International Labor Organization and my Chair [all credit goes to
him], to examine the role of old age security on demand for children. 
Please see my disseration proposal for details.

c) My preliminary results are out. The basic economic model/s etc., used
are on my web site if you are interested. The preliminary results are
rather conclusive on the very strong role played by this motive: 

i. The loyalty of children is a key determinant here. The contract across
generations is an implicit contract, not enforceable in court.  However,
if children are very loyal (as they are in Thailand), then parents, once
assured of a higher return from educating children - as happened in
Thailand in the past 30 years - will cut down on the number of children
and go for the quality of children.

ii. Other factors, such as infant mortality, education, etc., are almost
clearly confirmed to be playing a role in the expected direction.
Education of the parents is however, NOT playing a very significant role,
though the direction of the effect is as expected. In other words, you do
not need very highly educated parents to propel rapid declines in

What is critical to the determination of these huge declines in fertility
is the EXPECTED occupation of children in terms of job security. If you
expect your child to be a doctor (high paying and secure) or a government
employee (relatively high paying and secure), and you are assured of
loyalty from your children, then you tend to cut down the number of
children clearly, in favor of higher investment in the children's

IMPLICATION FOR INDIA (and this is what I am highlighting in my "book" -
not yet ready):

In India we have, traditionally, very strong loyalty from children toward
their parents.  Therefore as soon as parents start EXPECTING that
educating their children (a high investment) will yield significantly high
probability of higher returns, then they will automatically cut down on
the number of children they have, VERY rapidly, as in Thailand. My study
on Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, which is a very broad kind of study,
showed clearly the strong correlations we are talking about in the

In other words, India will follow the Thai model AS SOON AS we get out of
socialism into the minimally regulated capitalism that we are advocating.
The task now is very clear, as far as I can see: push the economy into a
really high gear. That will resolve a huge bunch of problems almost

In the best scenario, however, do not expect to see less than 1.6 billion
people by 2050. That is the LOWEST possible we can get to. Else, if we
continue with socialism, and kill our economy deliberately, expect to see
at least 2 billion people by 2050 [and most of us on this list will be
alive then to see this].  Keep this prediction down in front of you and
see at once the impact of implementing policies designed to bring about
rapid economic growth: 400 million less people. Economic growth is the
best contraceptive, without any iota of doubt.

And remember what I said about education: parents will DRIVE their
children like cattle, to school and demand better schools the moment
India's economy wakes up. You do not need to make ecucation a fundamental
right. Parents are not fools. They are not bothered about education today
simply because that does not do anything for THEM. Their children still
loiter, after getting their high school diplomas, on the streets and take
to guns as in Assam, because there are no opportunities and because we
cheat our children by teaching them mostly irrelevant stuff.

Take a very clear example: We did not have to "mandate" the existence of
private computer schools in every street corner of India. Parents demanded
it and supplied it, since they saw an opportunity for their children and
hence for THEMSELVES, through these schools. Parents are no fools. Just
remember that. 

Parents need to EXPECT that their children will be better off as a result
of educating them. Else, no matter what mumbo jumbo about rights we
mutter, nothing is going to budge them into sending their children to
school. There is no HUNGER for education in India yet. There is, on the
other hand, a desperate, panting, hunger for eduction in Japan.  Notice
what economic incentives can do. They have the strongest effect on the
demand for education. 

If you and I work for the right set of policies in India, and throw out
socialism lock stock and barrel, we can cut down the population of India
by 40 crores. And I am DEAD serious. Never more serious than this.

However, if you and I talk too much about minor issues like supply of
contraception, educational rights, minimum wages and regulating foreign
capital, then India is GONE and you can see 40 crore more people in 2050. 
Period.  An I am prepared to take a major bet on this. My one year's
income of 2025 (probably a peak earning year for me): I can predict
India's size of population to the nearest 7 crores conditional on the
economic policies in these 25 years. Anyone willing to take a bet? Then I
will work out my prediction and we can wait and see what happens, in the
public limelight. I promise to cut down 40 crore people in India if you
"follow" the manifesto we are building. And we shall not touch a bullet or
use force. People will choose this of their own.

Questions, anyone? Would you like to see my actual results? A tentative
model is posted below. I can post clear tables in Excel on the web for
those interested.  Please note, however, that these results are clearly
tentative, not yet published, and are not to be cited anywhere, yet, till
I defend my dissertation.

Probit of Wife: desired children (dchldn)      23:15 Wednesday, May 20,
1998   1

Probit Procedure
Class Level Information

Class    Levels    Values

DF            7    1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Number of observations used = 595

^LProbit of Wife: desired children (dchldn)      23:15 Wednesday, May 20,
1998   2

Probit Procedure

Data Set          =WORK.PINKW
Dependent Variable=DF    Total chldn desired (incl. ceb)

Weighted Frequency Counts for the Ordered Response Categories

       Level     Count
           1        27
           2       243
           3       194
           4        82
           5        36
           6        11
           7         2

Observations with Missing Values=1181

Log Likelihood for NORMAL    -720.6447

^LProbit of Wife: desired children (dchldn)      23:15 Wednesday, May 20,
1998   3

Probit Procedure

Variable  DF   Estimate  Std Err ChiSquare  Pr>Chi Label/Value

INTERCPT   1 0.65904238 0.737664  0.798196  0.3716 Intercept
AGE        1 -0.0946686 0.013821  46.91678  0.0001
AGEDIFF    1 -0.0422493 0.011335  13.89324  0.0002 age difference between
DC         1 -0.7521353 0.129566  33.69839  0.0001
OPPCOST    1 -0.2423739 0.126974  3.643715  0.0563
WPRIM      1 0.16646468 0.265877  0.391996  0.5313 wife: 1 if prim. sch.
WSECH      1 0.23832694 0.332104  0.514989  0.4730 Wife secondary or
HPRIM      1 0.21210857 0.330874  0.410953  0.5215 Husband: 1 if prim.
HSECH      1 0.30085903 0.363647   0.68449  0.4080 Husband: 1 if sec or
PELECT10   1 -0.1183794 0.049483  5.723312  0.0167 Propn. houses with
electric 1
BUS        1 0.05919112 0.111749  0.280562  0.5963 Have a business in last
12 mt
OWNHOUSE   1  0.0139893 0.132461  0.011154  0.9159 h owned by someone in
CNTDUR     1 0.01400008 0.017286  0.655987  0.4180
FARM       1 -0.2128655 0.126109  2.849168  0.0914 HH cultivates land
FLANDOWN   1 -0.0041404 0.001755   5.56856  0.0183 Land owned by family
VALHOUSE   1 0.00010668 0.006733  0.000251  0.9874 Value of house, if
FERLEV     1 -0.1136547 0.059789  3.613515  0.0573 Ferlev: 1 Low 2 Medium
3 High
COMSIZ     1 -0.0514656 0.059418  0.750228  0.3864 Comsiz: 1 Small 2
Medium 3 La
SURECHIN   1 0.06803458 0.032847  4.290089  0.0383
CHLDSIMP   1 -0.1399153 0.166733  0.704183  0.4014 Importance of children
as sup
SAVPSUP    1 -0.0786842  0.22256  0.124991  0.7237 Savings, pension,
insurance a
HELPFROM   1  0.0250692 0.100874  0.061763  0.8037 Help from parents/
EXPEDUC    1  0.0770613  0.07682   1.00628  0.3158 Expected edu of
studying chld
EXPOCCCS   1 0.15750184 0.049158  10.26548  0.0014 Expected occ of chld
based on
FIN60ADQ   1 0.42782765 0.188182  5.168691  0.0230 living std adequate in
INHEREXP   1 0.17449225 0.101066  2.980842  0.0843 Expectation of receipt
of inh
MMIMP      1 -0.3795375 0.129351  8.609281  0.0033 Financial help is most
CIMIMP     1 -0.1669463 0.103151  2.619409  0.1056 Care when ill most imp
DOWHINH    1 -0.2426208 0.114114   4.52039  0.0335 Strategic: withhold
DOEDUC     1 0.44614905 0.220516  4.093372  0.0431 Human Resource: Give
HWCHSUP    1 -0.1099575 0.148991  0.544666  0.4605
HWSURE     1 -0.0006847 0.003005  0.051933  0.8197