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Empirical Assessments of Social Networks, Fertility and Family Planning Programs

  • Hans-Peter Kohler

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Jere R. Behrman

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Susan Watkins

    (University of Pennsylvania)

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.

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Article provided by Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany in its journal Demographic Research.

Volume (Year): 3 (2000)
Issue (Month): 7 (September)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:dem:demres:v:3:y:2000:i:7
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/

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  1. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert F. Tamura, 1990. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Oded Galor & David N. Weil, 1993. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 4550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Mary Arends-Kuenning, 2001. "How do family planning workers’ visits affect women’s contraceptive behavior in bangladesh?," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(4), pages 481-496, November.
  4. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  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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