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Subsidized Contraception, Fertility, and Sexual Behavior

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  • Melissa S. Kearney

    (Department of Economics, University of Maryland, and NBER)

  • Phillip B. Levine

    (Department of Economics, Wellesley College, and NBER)

Abstract

We examine the impact of recent state-level Medicaid policy changes that expanded eligibility for family planning services to higher-income women and to Medicaid clients whose benefits would expire otherwise. We show that the income-based policy change reduced overall births to non-teens by about 2% and to teens by over 4%; estimates suggest a decline of 9% among newly eligible women. The reduction in fertility appears to have been accomplished via greater use of contraception. Our calculations indicate that allowing higher-income women to receive federally funded family planning cost on the order of $6,800 for each averted birth. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Melissa S. Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2009. "Subsidized Contraception, Fertility, and Sexual Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 137-151, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:91:y:2009:i:1:p:137-151
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Phillip B. Levine, 2001. "The Sexual Activity and Birth-Control Use of American Teenagers," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 167-218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Paul Gertler & John Molyneaux, 1994. "How economic development and family planning programs combined to reduce indonesian fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(1), pages 33-63, February.
    3. Averett, S.L. & Rees, D.I. & Argys, L.M., 2002. "The impact of government policies and neighborhood characteristics on teenage sexual activity and contraceptive use," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 92(11), pages 1773-1778.
    4. Melissa Schettini Kearney, 2004. "Is There an Effect of Incremental Welfare Benefits on Fertility Behavior?: A Look at the Family Cap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    5. Jennifer M. Mellor, 1998. "The Effect of Family Planning Programs on the Fertility of Welfare Recipients: Evidence from Medicaid Claims," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 866-895.
    6. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 672-694, November.
    7. Paton, David, 2002. "The economics of family planning and underage conceptions," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 207-225, March.
    8. Martha J. Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320.
    9. Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "The Impact of Social Policy and Economic Activity Throughout the Fertility Decision Tree," NBER Working Papers 9021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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