Integrating respondents, community, and the state in the analysis of contraceptive use in Kenya

Alexander Ariel Weinreb, University of Pennsylvania


The principal theoretical argument in this dissertation is that micro-social research, including demographic research, is flawed to the extent that it avoids mapping the relational space around individuals. The dissertation highlights the importance of this idea in three discrete sections, each of which focuses empirically on contraceptive use in Kenya. Throughout, multivariate regression methods are used. Part 1 inverts the normal focus of analysis. It examines survey responses, treating the responses themselves, rather than the behaviors they are intended to represent, as the dependent variable. Analysis shows that survey data are a product of a social interaction and that they bear the imprint of that interaction. Analysts should not, therefore, treat data as unbiased indicators of underlying behavior. Parts 2 and 3 of the dissertation revisit longstanding demographic associations. Two empirical questions are addressed in Part 2. Each explores the effects of horizontally structured social relations by looking at how an individual's characteristics affect the behavior of other community residents. They implicitly assume the existence, and infer the content, of evaluative interactional exchanges between community members. The two questions are: to what extent and under what conditions (1) does educating one woman have spillover effects on the contraceptive behavior of her neighbors? And (2) is a woman's contraceptive behavior a function of the mortality of neighbors' children rather than the mortality of her own children? I find spillover effects in both cases. Finally, Part 3 shifts the relational focus to a vertical type of structured social relation. It integrates traditional macro-oriented social theory with micro-demographic analysis by examining the relationship between an individual's behavior and the patron-client political hierarchy with which the individual's residential district is associated. The principal analytic question this section addresses is: to what extent are ethnic differences in demographic behavior the outcomes of differential access to political power rather than explicit ‘cultural’ differences? I find that the ethnic differences are partly explained by the political factors.

Subject Area

Demographics|Social research

Recommended Citation

Weinreb, Alexander Ariel, "Integrating respondents, community, and the state in the analysis of contraceptive use in Kenya" (2000). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9965592.