Family Planning and Fertility: Estimating Program Effects Using Cross-Sectional Data

Claus C. Pörtner, University of Washington
Kathleen Beegle, World Bank Group
Luc Christiaensen, World Bank Group

This paper uses a novel method of identifying the effects of a family planning program, when there is endogenous program placement and only cross-sectional data are available. It focuses on the differential effects of health facilities, standard family planning and community-based reproductive health programs. Access to family planning reduces the age-specific fertility by about 0.5 children for women younger than 30, while the effect is less for older women. This is in line with what other studies have found. This reduction is not overly large considering the high total fertility rate in Ethiopia. There are, however, other positive effects of access. Women are generally older when they have their first child in areas with family planning service, which may have a beneficial effect on child health and maternal health. It appears that access reduces the risk of unwanted pregnancy, especially for older women.

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Presented in Session 6: Evaluating Social Development Programs in Low-Income Countries: New Initiatives