During the 1980s and 1990s, two-thirds of sub-Saharan African countries adopted national population policies to reduce population growth. Based on multivariate statistical analysis, I show that countries with more ties to the world polity were more likely to adopt population policies. In order to refine world polity theory, however, I distinguish between normative and coercive ties to the world polity. I show that ties to the world polity via international nongovernmental organizations became predictive of population policy adoption only after the 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development institutionalized reproductive health as a global norm to which countries could show adherence through population policies. Ties to the World Bank in the form of indebtedness, presumed to be coercive, were associated with population policy adoption throughout the time period observed. Gross domestic product per capita, democracy, and religion also all predicted population policy adoption. The case of population policy adoption in sub-Saharan Africa thus demonstrates that ties to organizations likely to exert normative pressure are most influential when something about international norms is at stake, while ties to organizations with coercive capacity matter regardless of time, but may be easier for wealthier countries to resist.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 15, 2014
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