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Family Planning: Program Effects

Publication Date: 
October 1, 2014

Irma Elo and Andrew Foster (volume eds.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier, 2015 (with Kim Singer Babiarz)

This chapter reviews empirical evidence on the micro-level consequences of family planning programs in middle- and low-income countries. In doing so, it focuses on fertility outcomes (the number and timing of births), women's health and socio-economic outcomes (mortality, human capital, and labor force participation), and children's health and socio-economic outcomes throughout the life cycle. Though effect sizes are heterogeneous, long-term studies imply that in practice, family planning programs may only explain a small share of fertility decline in real-world settings. Family planning programs may also have quantitatively modest - but practically meaningful - effects on the socio-economic welfare of individuals and families.