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Ceausescu’s population policy: a moral or an economic choice between compulsory and voluntary incentivised motherhood?

  • Florin Stanica Soare

    (University of Bucharest and Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile)

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    The purpose of this paper is to explain why, in 1966, the Romanian leadership adopted a wholly restrictive pronatalist policy, based on the strict limitation of abortion, instead of one based on socioeconomic incentives to families, as suggested by technocrats. Previous literature shows disagreement on whether the choice was motivated by moralistic or economic considerations. In order to find an answer to this question, hundreds of pages of archival material unpublished so far have been analysed, including the minutes of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, statistics, documents identified in the Ministry of Health Archive, and the technical reports that were on the table at the time of the decision. The conclusion of this study, drawn on the basis of these documents, indicates that at the time of 1966, regardless of the suggestions of the technocrats, a decision had already been taken by Ceausescu himself. This decision was influenced directly by economic considerations, namely the wish to obtain the maximum pronatalist effect at a minimum budgetary cost.

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    Article provided by Europa Grande in its journal European Journal of Government and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (June)
    Pages: 59-78

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    Handle: RePEc:egr:ejge00:v:2:i:1:p:59-78
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    1. Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2006. "The Impact of an Abortion Ban on Socioeconomic Outcomes of Children: Evidence from Romania," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 744-773, August.
    2. Cristian Pop-Eleches, 2010. "The Supply of Birth Control Methods, Education, and Fertility: Evidence from Romania," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 971-997.
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