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

We present novel instruments to identify the effects of family planning programs when program placement is non-random and only cross-sectional data are available. The instruments are ranking of area education level, urbanization, and population size. Using data from Ethiopia we find that family planning reduces the number of children ever born for women without education; the reduction is especially pronounced for women younger than 20 and older than 30. We find completed fertility falls by more than one birth -- effects that are statistically significant and substantially larger than previously reported. We find no impact of family planning for women with schooling. Based on a relatively small reduction in child mortality and a compression of births into the ages 20-30, we argue that the effect on fertility is due to family planning access and not health facilities. Finally, family planning access reduces unwanted fertility, especially for older women.

  See paper

Presented in Session 8: Family Planning, Reproductive Health, and Fertility in Africa