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. Using data from Ethiopia we find that access to family planning reduces cumulative fertility by about 0.5 children for women younger than 30, while there is less of an effect for older women. This effect is statistically significant. We also find a significantly lower probability of having had a birth within the last twelve months. We also find other positive effects of access to family planning program. Firstly, 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 the health of the mother. Secondly, it appear that the risk of an unwanted pregnancy decreases, especially for older women, then there is access to family planning.

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Presented in Poster Session 2