Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

Cover of Working Paper 470
December 7, 2017

Family Planning and Fertility Behavior: Evidence from Twentieth Century Malaysia - Working Paper 470

There is longstanding debate about the contribution of family planning programs to fertility decline. Studying the staggered introduction of family planning across Malaysia during the 1960s and 1970s, we find modest responses in fertility behavior. Overall, Malaysia’s total fertility rate declined by about one quarter birth under family planning, explaining only about 10 percent of the national fertility decline between 1960 and 1988. Our findings are consistent with growing evidence that global fertility decline is predominantly due to underlying changes in the demand for children.

Kimberly Singer Babiarz , Jiwon Lee , Grant Miller , Tey Nai Peng and Christine Valente
Cover of Working Paper 471
December 7, 2017

Family Planning and Women’s Economic Empowerment: Incentive Effects and Direct Effects among Malaysian Women - Working Paper 471

Although family planning programs can improve women’s welfare directly through changes in realized fertility, they may also have important incentive effects by increasing parents’ investments in girls not yet fertile. We study these potential incentive effects, finding that family planning may have raised raise girls’ educational attainment substantially. We also find that these early investments are linked to gains in women’s paid labor at prime working ages and to greater support for women’s elderly parents (a marker for women’s bargaining power within the household). Notably, these incentive effects may be larger than the direct effects of family planning alone.

Kimberly Singer Babiarz , Jiwon Lee , Grant Miller , Tey Nai Peng and Christine Valente
November 3, 2016

Aligning to 2020: How the FP2020 Core Partners Can Work Better, Together

In July 2012, world leaders gathered in London to support the right of women and girls to make informed and autonomous choices about whether, when, and how many children they want to have. There, low income-country governments and donors committed to a new partnership—Family Planning 2020 (FP2020). Since then, the focus countries involved in the FP2020 partnership have made significant progress. Yet as FP2020 reaches its halfway point, and new, even more ambitious goals are set as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, gains fall short of aspirations.

May 11, 2016

Can Access to Contraception Deliver for Women’s Economic Empowerment? What We Know – and What We Must Learn

Theory and some empirical evidence suggest the two goals – reproductive rights for women and women’s economic empowerment – are connected: reproductive rights should strengthen women’s economic power. But our understanding of the magnitude of the possible connection and the nature of any causal link (vs. coevolution or reverse causation) in different times and places is limited. In this note we summarize what we know up to now and what more we could learn about that connection, and set out the data requirements and methodological challenges that face researchers and policymakers who want to better understand the relationship.

March 24, 2016

Population Policy: Abortion and Modern Contraception Are Substitutes - Working Paper 426

There is longstanding debate in population policy about the relationship between modern contraception and abortion.  Although theory predicts that they should be substitutes, the existing body of empirical evidence is difficult to interpret.  In this paper, we study Nepal’s 2004 legalization of abortion provision and subsequent expansion of abortion services.

February 22, 2016

Family Planning Program Effects: A Review of Evidence from Microdata - Working Paper 422

This paper reviews empirical evidence on the micro-level consequences of family planning programs in middle- and low-income countries. In doing so, it focuses on fertility outcomes (the number and timing of births), women’s health and socio-economic outcomes, and children’s health and socio-economic outcomes throughout the life cycle. In practice, family planning programs may only explain a modest share of fertility decline in real-world settings, and may also have quantitatively modest - but practically meaningful - effects on the socio-economic welfare of individuals and families.