Reproductive Health, Empowerment of Women and Economic Prosperity

Last updated May 2011
Elizabeth Frankenberg; Duncan Thomas
Using experimental and non-experimental micro-level data from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa, this project measures the effects of investments in family planning and reproductive health services on a broad array of indicators of the health, well-being and economic prosperity of women, their children and their families. We pay special attention to estimating the causal effects of these programs on the status of women, economic productivity, savings and investment: outcomes that are rarely considered in the evaluation of program effects but that are crucial for estimating the full benefits to society of investments in reproductive health. We rigorously evaluate the impact of improvements in women’s health and empowerment on future economic prosperity. We go on to explore whether women’s greater propensity to invest in children, relative to men, can be attributed to differences in preferences and contrast inter-temporal preferences of males and females. Taking all the evidence in combination, this research will provide important insights into the likely causal mechanisms that underlie association between population composition and economic growth.
Contact Information:
Elizabeth Frankenberg,; Duncan Thomas,, Duke University