Publisher/Institution: University of the Philippines School of Economics
Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on the role of subsidized contraceptives in influencing fertility behavior. It draws on two types of disruptions that affected the public supply of free contraceptives in the Philippines: a sharp reduction induced by the phase out of contraceptive donations to the country from an external donor coupled with a government policy that shirked public funding to fill the supply shortfall, and substantial fluctuations in the shipment of free contraceptives to the country’s provinces that was brought about by supply chain issues. It finds that birth rates were responsive to both broad and transitory changes in public contraceptive supply: provinces which experienced big declines in the supply of free contraceptives also had big increases (or small decreases) in birth rates, while temporary supply drops (increases) were followed by rising (falling) birth rates. It also identifies poor, less educated, and rural women as the groups which were least able to cope with short-term gaps in public contraceptive supply.