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Population Policies, Fertility, Women's Human Capital, and Child Quality

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  • Schultz, T. Paul

Abstract

Population policies are defined here as voluntary programs which help people control their fertility and expect to improve their lives. There are few studies of the long-run effects of policy-induced changes in fertility on the welfare of women, such as policies that subsidize the diffusion and use of best practice birth control technologies. Evaluation of the consequences of such family planning programs almost never assess their long-run consequences, such as on labor supply, savings, or investment in the human capital of children, although they occasionally estimate the short-run association with the adoption of contraception or age-specific fertility. The dearth of long-run family planning experiments has led economists to consider instrumental variables as a substitute for policy interventions which not only determine variation in fertility but are arguably independent of the reproductive preferences of parents or unobserved constraints that might influence family life cycle behaviors. Using these instrumental variables to estimate the effect of this exogenous variation in fertility on family outcomes, economists discover these "cross effects" of fertility on family welfare outcomes tend to be substantially smaller in absolute magnitude than the OLS estimates of partial correlations referred to in the literature as evidence of the beneficial social externalities associated with the policies that reduce fertility. The paper summarizes critically the empirical literature on fertility and development and proposes an agenda for research on the topic.

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This chapter was published in:

  • T. Paul Schultz & John A. Strauss (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Development Economics," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 4, number 5, January.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Development Economics with number 5-52.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:devchp:5-52

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

    Related research

    Keywords: consequences of fertility decline; child quality; evaluation of population policies;

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    Cited by:
    1. Schultz, T. Paul, 2010. "Population and Health Policies," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Joshi, Shareen & Schultz, T. Paul, 2012. "Family Planning and Women's and Children's Health: Long Term Consequences of an Outreach Program in Matlab, Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 6551, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Lindskog, Annika, 2013. "The effect of siblings’ education on school-entry in the Ethiopian highlands," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 45-68.
    4. Cigno, Alessandro, 2009. "How to Avoid a Pension Crisis: A Question of Intelligent System Design," IZA Policy Papers 4, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Joshi, Shareen & Schultz, T. Paul, 2007. "Family Planning as an Investment in Development: Evaluation of a Program’s Consequences in Matlab, Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 2639, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Assaad, Ragui & Krafft, Caroline, 2014. "The economics of marriage in North Africa," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. T. Paul Schultz, 2007. "Fertility in Developing Countries," Working Papers 953, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    8. Julio Cáceres-Delpiano, 2012. "Can We Still Learn Something From the Relationship Between Fertility and Mother’s Employment? Evidence From Developing Countries," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 151-174, February.
    9. Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue & Sarah Giroux, 2012. "Fertility Transitions and Schooling: From Micro- to Macro-Level Associations," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(4), pages 1407-1432, November.

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