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Empirical Assessments of Social Networks, Fertility and Family Planning Programs

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  • Hans-Peter Kohler

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Jere Behrman

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Susan Watkins

    (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

Empirical studies of the diffusion of modern methods of family planning have increasing incorporated social interaction within nonlinear models such as logits. But they have not considered the full implications of these nonlinear specifications. This paper considers the implications of using nonlinear models in empirical analyses of the impact of family programs, modulated by social interaction, on reproductive behavior. Three implications of nonlinear models, in comparison with linear models, are developed. (1) With nonlinear models, there may be both low and high contraceptive-use equilibria (i.e., the ultimate level of use of modern family planning that a population can be expected to reach after the effects of a sustained change in a family planning program have worked through the population) rather than just one equilibrium as in linear models. If there are multiple equilibria, then one striking and important result is that a transitory large program effort may move a community from sustained low- to high-level contraceptive use. (2) With nonlinear models the extent to which a social interaction multiplies program efforts depends on whether the community is at a low or high level of contraceptive use rather than being independent of the level of contraceptive use as in linear models. (3) With nonlinear models, intensified social interaction can retard or enhance the diffusion of family planning, in contrast to only enhancing diffusion as within linear models. To clarify these implications, for comparison a simple and more transparent linear model is also discussed. Illustrative estimates are presented of simple linear and nonlinear models for rural Kenya that demonstrate that some of these effects may be considerable.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere Behrman & Susan Watkins, 2000. "Empirical Assessments of Social Networks, Fertility and Family Planning Programs," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 3(7), September.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:3:y:2000:i:7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    2. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-387, June.
    3. Mary Arends-Kuenning, 2001. "How do family planning workers’ visits affect women’s contraceptive behavior in bangladesh?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(4), pages 481-496, November.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2000. "Fertility decline as a coordination problem," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 231-263, December.
    6. Hans-Peter Kohler & Jere R. Behrman & Susan Cotts Watkins, 1999. "The structure of social networks and fertility decisions: evidence from S. Nyanza District, Kenya," MPIDR Working Papers WP-1999-005, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chimbiri, Agnes M., 2007. "The condom is an 'intruder' in marriage: Evidence from rural Malawi," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(5), pages 1102-1115, March.
    2. Kohler, Hans-Peter, 2000. "Fertility decline as a coordination problem," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 231-263, December.
    3. Rondinelli, Concetta & Aassve, Arnstein & Billari, Francesco C., 2006. "Socio-economic differences in postponement and recuperation of fertility in Italy: results from a multi-spell random effect model," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-46, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    4. FFF1Susan NNN1Watkins & FFF2Ina NNN2Warriner, 2003. "How do we know we need to control for selectivity?," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 1(4), pages 109-142, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    family planning programs; fertility; nonlinear models; social interactions;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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