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Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning Programs on U.S. Fertility: Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X

  • Martha J. Bailey

Almost 50 years after domestic U.S. family planning programs began, their effects on childbearing remain controversial. Using the county-level roll-out of these programs from 1964 to 1973, this paper reevaluates their shorter- and longer-term effects on U.S. fertility rates. I find that the introduction of family planning is associated with significant and persistent reductions in fertility driven both by falling completed childbearing and childbearing delay. Although federally-funded family planning accounted for a small portion of the post-baby boom U.S. fertility decline, the estimates imply that they reduced childbearing among poor women by 21 to 29 percent.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17343.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17343.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Publication status: published as Martha J. Bailey, 2012. "Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning Programs on US Fertility: Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 62-97, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17343
Note: CH DAE LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L Miller, 2007. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 159-208, 02.
  2. Grant Miller, 2010. "Contraception as Development? New Evidence from Family Planning in Colombia," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(545), pages 709-736, 06.
  3. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L & Katz, Michael L, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317, May.
  4. Levine, Phillip B. & Trainor, Amy B. & Zimmerman, David J., 1996. "The effect of Medicaid abortion funding restrictions on abortions, pregnancies and births," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 555-578, October.
  5. J. Udry & Karl Bauman & Naomi Morris, 1976. "The effect of subsidized family planning services on reproductive behavior in the United States, 1969–1974," Demography, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 463-478, November.
  6. Martha J. Bailey, 2009. ""Momma's Got the Pill": How Anthony Comstock and Griswold v. Connecticut Shaped U.S. Childbearing," NBER Working Papers 14675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jennifer M. Mellor, 1997. "The Effect of Family Planning Programs on the Fertility of Welfare Recipients: Evidence from Medicaid Claims," JCPR Working Papers 9, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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