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Contraception as Development? New Evidence from Family Planning in Colombia

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  • Grant Miller

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Grant Miller, 2005. "Contraception as Development? New Evidence from Family Planning in Colombia," NBER Working Papers 11704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11704
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    Cited by:

    1. Uma Radhakrishnan, 2010. "A Dynamic Structural Model of Contraceptive Use and Employment Sector Choice for Women in Indonesia," Working Papers 10-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Oliveira, Jaqueline, 2016. "The value of children: Inter-generational support, fertility, and human capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-16.
    3. Grönqvist, Hans, 2009. "Putting teenagers on the pill: the consequences of subsidized contraception," Working Paper Series 2009:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    4. Baez, Javier E., 2008. "Does More Mean Better? Sibling Sex Composition and the Link between Family Size and Children’s Quality," IZA Discussion Papers 3472, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2007. "The Power of the Pill for the Next Generation," NBER Working Papers 13402, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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