Given the consistent findings in the development literature that fertility is associated with economic growth for individuals, families, and even influences a country's Gross Domestic Product, I explore to what degree motorcycles impact changes in fertility in rural Indonesia. I argue that motorcycles function as a "Distance Demolishing Technology" (Scott 2009:11) and therein empower individuals, particularly young rural women from lower socioeconomic groups who are socially and economically isolated, through increasing their access to labor markets, educational opportunities, non-familial social organizations, and more diverse social networks—key indicators in affecting fertility decisions identified in the existing literature. I examine this relationship in Indonesia where from 1990 to 2009, motorcycle ownership in Indonesia increased approximately 893% while the Indonesian population increased approximately 15% (Badan Pusat Statistik 2009). Using Demographic and Health Survey data across 1994, 1997, 2002, 2003 and 2007, I examine this relationship through a combination of multilevel regression models. My findings show a strong association between motorcycle ownership and a decrease in four different measures of fertility. Considering the importance of fertility in indicating individual and aggregate economic development—particularly in terms of increasing GDP and GNI per Capita—my findings indicate that sometimes even the simplest of technologies can be the "engines" of social and economic change.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Muir, Jonathan A., "Indicators of Fertility Change in a Developing Nation: Examining the Impact of Motorcycles as a Distance Demolishing Technology on Fertility Change in Rural Indonesia" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 3272.
fertility, social change, social mobility, distance demolishing technology