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Contraception as Development? New Evidence from Family Planning in Colombia

  • Grant Miller
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    There has been considerable debate in the last decade about whether or not family planning programs in developing countries reduce fertility or improve socio-economic outcomes. Despite suggestive associations, disagreement persists because the availability and use of modern contraceptives are generally determined by both supply- and demand-side factors. This paper provides new evidence on the role of contraceptive supply by exploiting the surprisingly haphazard expansion of one of the world%u2019s oldest and largest family planning organizations %uF818 PROFAMILIA of Colombia. Its findings suggest that family planning allowed Colombian women to postpone their first birth and have approximately one-half fewer children in their lifetime. Delayed first births, in turn, seem to have enabled young women to obtain more education and to work more and live independently later in life. Although family planning explains only about 10% of Colombia%u2019s fertility decline, it appears to have reduced the otherwise substantial costs of fertility control and may be among the most effective development interventions.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11704.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11704.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11704
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