ENS, room Langevin, 24 rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris
The uptake of a fertility-reducing technology, such a modern contraception, directly challenges Darwinian notions of fitness. Evolutionary approaches have proposed numerous mechanisms for explaining the origins, spread and maintenance of low fertility through the adoption of fertility-reducing behaviour. However, the literature has not yet engaged with the reversible dynamics of contraceptive behaviour at the individual level (adopt, discontinue, re-adopt). In this talk, I will draw on social network, demographic and interview data from Ethiopia to evaluate the salience of evolutionary explanations for understandng the cultural evolution of modern contraception and its impact on the demographic transition.