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As more countries rise out of poverty, CGD’s work in this area focuses on the inequities and emerging problems that jeopardize global health progress.
As more countries rise out of poverty, CGD is focusing on the inequities and emerging problems that jeopardize global health progress: How should governments allocate scarce health budgets rationally and equitably? How can the world advance global health security and fight infectious diseases? What can be done to address treatment inequalities between developed and developing countries? What are the benefits of, mechanisms for, and threats to, greater family planning provision? CGD research helps policymakers build sustainable health systems, respond to shifting realities, and deliver value for money.
December 12 marks the fifth annual Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day. Half a decade after the landmark UN endorsement, more countries than ever are working to translate UHC goals into reality through defined, tangible, equitable, and comprehensive health services for their populations. To celebrate, CGD is pleased to host a short program—Better Decisions, Better Health: Practical Experiences Supporting UHC from Around the World.
On December 7, 2017, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Government of Canada, gave a keynote address at the the third annual Birdsall House Conference on Women, "Reproductive Choices to Life Chances: The Links between Contraception and Women’s Economic Empowerment."
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.
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.
Researchers from many academic institutions and think tanks have studied the relationship between contraception and women's economic empowerment. In both the developing and developed world, the evidence suggests that access to contraception is not only correlated with but can even cause women’s economic empowerment and drive economic growth.
We here at CGD tend to be critical of international agencies like WHO or the UNDP for establishing targets or guidelines without sufficient consideration of the impacts, for good and ill, of those guidelines in the affected countries. Such guidelines often apply standards more appropriate to rich countries and then pressure poor countries to behave as if they were rich.