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Fertility Regulation in an Economic Crisis

  • 2012
  • Journal Article
McKelvey, Christopher; Thomas, Duncan & Frankenberg, Elizabeth

Publication Title: Economic Development and Cultural Change

Pages: 7-38

Abstract: Substantial international aid is spent reducing the cost of contraception in developing countries as part of a larger effort to reduce global fertility and increase investment per child worldwide. The importance for fertility behaviors of keeping contraceptive prices low, however, remains unclear. Targeting of subsidies and insufficient price variation have hindered prior attempts to estimate the effect of monetary and nonmonetary contraceptive costs on fertility behavior. Using longitudinal survey data from the Indonesia Family Life Survey, we exploit dramatic variation in prices and incomes that was induced by the economic crisis in the late 1990s to pin down the effect of contraceptive availability and costs as well as household resources on contraceptive use and method choice. The results are unambiguous: Monetary costs of contraceptives and levels of family economic resources have a very small (and well-determined) impact on contraceptive use and choice of method.

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