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Article

Post-Soviet traditionalism, human capital, and fertility: the case of the North Caucasus

Post-Soviet Affairs. 2021. Vol. 37. No. 2. P. 137-154.

The paper aims to contribute to studies of women’s human capital and fertility in post-Soviet societies. The post-Soviet regions are a particularly interesting setting to study this question because they have combined traditional family organization and rapid social change in recent decades. Based on evidence from Karachay-Cherkessia (Russia), we examine whether elements of a woman’s human capital can account for her fertility behavior in the context of family traditionalism. Our analysis is based in a sample survey of women conducted in 2018. Using Poisson regressions, we analyze the relation of human capital and family traditionalism to the number of children born to women of different ages. We conclude that both human capital and cultural family traditionalism (the empowerment of elder relatives in a woman’s family and a woman’s observance of religious rituals) appear to be significant for fertility decisions, with their effects working in opposite directions.