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The Effect of Family Planning Programs on the Fertility of Welfare Recipients: Evidence from Medicaid Claims

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  • Jennifer M. Mellor

Abstract

Can public programs effectively reduce the number of births to women on public assistance? In this paper, I examine the provision of family planning services to welfare recipients through the Medicaid program. Previous studies of publicly-funded family planning services in the U.S. have produced conflicting and sometimes confounding results, and have exclusively relied on single-equation estimates of family planning program effectiveness. Economic theories suggest that single-equation estimates may understate program effectiveness when the same unobserved variable affects both the fertility outcome and contraceptive behavior. To eliminate the bias that may result from single-equation estimation, I use a bivariate probit model to estimate the effect of contraceptive acceptance on the individual's probability of giving birth. I employ a rich and unique data set created from Medicaid claims and eligibility records of the State of Maryland. Results from bivariate probit estimation show that contraceptive acceptance plays a much larger role in reducing fertility than single-equation estimates would suggest, due to a significant positive correlation between the unobservable variables that affect both fertility and contraception.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 9.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 1997
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Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:9

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Postal: Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, 1155 E. 60th Street Chicago, IL 60637
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Web page: http://www.jcpr.org/wp/ByDate.html
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References

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  1. J. A. Hausman, 1976. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Working papers 185, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Joshua D. Angrist, 1991. "Instrumental Variables Estimation of Average Treatment Effects in Econometrics and Epidemiology," NBER Technical Working Papers 0115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Schultz, T.P., 1990. "Assessing Family Palnning Cost-Effectiveness: Applicability Of Individual Demand-Program Supply Framework," Papers 615, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  4. Blank, Rebecca M., 1989. "Analyzing the length of welfare spells," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 245-273, August.
  5. Schultz, T. Paul, 1988. "Population programs: Measuring their impact on fertility and the personal distribution of their effects," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 113-139, April.
  6. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1985. "The Demand for and Supply of Births: Fertility and Its Life Cycle Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 992-1015, December.
  7. Elizabeth Stephen & Ronald Rindfuss & Frank Bean, 1988. "Racial differences in contraceptive choice: Complexity and implications," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 53-70, February.
  8. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Frenette, Marc, 2004. "The overqualified Canadian graduate: the role of the academic program in the incidence, persistence, and economic returns to overqualification," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 29-45, February.
  2. Melissa S. Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2007. "Subsidized Contraception, Fertility, and Sexual Behavior," NBER Working Papers 13045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Martha J. Bailey, 2013. "Fifty Years of Family Planning: New Evidence on the Long-Run Effects of Increasing Access to Contraception," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 341-409.
  4. Frenette, Marc & Picot, Garnett & Sceviour, Roger, 2004. "When do they leave? The dynamics of living in low-income neighbourhoods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 484-504, November.
  5. Martha J. Bailey, 2012. "Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning Programs on US Fertility: Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 62-97, April.
  6. Thomas DeLeire & Leonard Lopoo & Kosali Simon, 2011. "Medicaid Expansions and Fertility in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 725-747, May.
  7. Bundervoet, Tom, 2014. "What explains Rwanda's drop in fertility between 2005 and 2010 ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6741, The World Bank.
  8. Naci Mocan & Kaj Gittings, 2010. "The Impact of Incentives on Human Behavior: Can We Make it Disappear? The Case of the Death Penalty," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 379-418 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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