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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

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  • Martha J. Bailey

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Martha J. Bailey, 2011. "Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning Programs on U.S. Fertility: Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X," NBER Working Papers 17343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17343
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grant Miller, 2010. "Contraception as Development? New Evidence from Family Planning in Colombia," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(545), pages 709-736, June.
    2. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 159-208.
    3. Nava Ashraf & Erica Field & Jean Lee, 2014. "Household Bargaining and Excess Fertility: An Experimental Study in Zambia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(7), pages 2210-2237, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Martha J. Bailey, 2010. ""Momma's Got the Pill": How Anthony Comstock and Griswold v. Connecticut Shaped US Childbearing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 98-129, March.
    6. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
    7. 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.
    8. 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;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 13(4), pages 463-478, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martha Bailey & Olga Malkova & Zoë M. McLaren, 2017. "Does Parents' Access to Family Planning Increase Children's Opportunities? Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X," Working Papers 2017-083, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    2. Hilary Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach & Douglas Almond, 2016. "Long-Run Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(4), pages 903-934, April.
    3. Dills, Angela K. & Grecu, Anca M., 2017. "Effects of state contraceptive insurance mandates," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 30-42.
    4. repec:eee:jhecon:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:168-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gauthier T. Kashalala & Steven F. Koch, 2014. "The Economic Approach to Fertility: A Causal Mediation Analysis," Working Papers 201434, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    6. Yao Lu & David J.G. Slusky, 2016. "The Impact of Women’s Health Clinic Closures on Fertility," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 201607, University of Kansas, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2016.
    7. Jason M. Lindo & Analisa Packham, 2017. "How Much Can Expanding Access to Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives Reduce Teen Birth Rates?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 348-376, August.
    8. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Chakraborty, Shankha, 2014. "Contraception and the Fertility Transition," MPRA Paper 53129, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Martha J. Bailey & Andrew Goodman-Bacon, 2015. "The War on Poverty's Experiment in Public Medicine: Community Health Centers and the Mortality of Older Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(3), pages 1067-1104, March.
    10. Joanna Lahey, 2014. "The Effect of Anti-Abortion Legislation on Nineteenth Century Fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(3), pages 939-948, June.
    11. Hilary Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2015. "U.S. Food and Nutrition Programs," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, volume 1, pages 219-301 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Bailey, Martha J. & Duquette, Nicolas J., 2014. "How Johnson Fought the War on Poverty: The Economics and Politics of Funding at the Office of Economic Opportunity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(02), pages 351-388, June.
    13. Christopher Costello & Corbett Grainger, 2015. "Property Rights, Regulatory Capture, and Exploitation of Natural Resources," NBER Working Papers 20859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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