Family Planning Programs and Fertility Preferences in Northern Ghana: The Role of Ideational Change Processes

Winfred A. Avogo, Arizona State University
James F. Phillips, Population Council

Few studies currently exist that examine empirically, the spread of ideas about fertility preferences through diffusion processes. Studies of this nature though notoriously difficult to conduct empirically, are directly relevant to the debate on whether family planning programs have reduced fertility preferences. In this paper, we use longitudinal data from a rural traditional district of northern Ghana, to examine the effects of men’s and women’s informal social interactions on expressed fertility intentions of marital partners. We determine if direct program efforts have influential effect on fertility intentions. Employing random effects logistic regression models, we find that diffusion effects remain a strong predictor of marital partner’s fertility intentions net of socio-economic and family planning program efforts. Further analysis to enhance the causality argument and to reduce the possible effect of endogenous network selection, largely demonstrate the importance of our findings, especially in respect of women’s versus men’s networks.

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Presented in Poster Session 3