Social context of first birth timing in a rapidly changing rural setting

This article examines the influence of social context on the rate of first birth. Drawing on socialization models, I develop a theoretical framework to explain how different aspects of social context (i.e., neighbors), may affect the rate of first birth. Neighbors, who in the study setting comprise individuals' immediate social context, have an important influence on the rate of first birth. To test my hypotheses, I leverage a setting, measures and analytical techniques designed to study the impact of macro-level social contexts on micro-level individual behavior. The results show that neighbors' age at first birth, travel to the capital city and media exposure tend to reduce the first birth rate, while neighbors' non-family work experience increases first birth rate. These effects are independent of neighborhood characteristics and are robust against several key variations in model specifications.