How to measure reproductive success?

Authors

  • Beverly I. Strassmann,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
    • Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
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  • Brenda Gillespie

    1. Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, and Center for Statistical Consultation and Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
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Abstract

To date there have been few empirical comparisons between alternative methods for measuring reproductive success (RS). We consider the pros and cons of alternative measures of RS to provide guidance for the design of field studies in human behavioral ecology. We compare cross-sectional measures that count offspring alive at the time of the interview and retrospective measures that require data on offspring age at death or censoring. We consider analyses that include adult women (yielding age-specific estimates of RS) as well as analyses restricted to postreproductive women (yielding data on lifetime RS). These methods are applied to reproductive data for the Dogon of Mali, West Africa. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 15:361–369, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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