, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 111-130

Determinants of national family planning effort

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Abstract

In light of recent research demonstrating a substantial impact of family planning programs on fertility, we develop and estimate a multivariate model of the determinants of national differences in family planning program effort (FPPE). The framework that guides the specification of this model identifies three broad classes of factors—those that create demand for family planning, those that facilitate the initiation and expansion of family planning programs, and finally those that encourage or inhibit program development.

The results from multiple regression using 84 less developed countries indicate that demand for family planning, facilitating infrastructure, and certain demographic and geographic factors are important determinants of program effort. These results suggest that popular demand for family planning is helpful, but that policy makers must perceive the adverse consequences of high fertility and have the infrastructure necessary to develop an effective organized family planning program.

Current U.S. policies relevant to reducing birth rates are discussed and found to reflect quite well research on determinants of fertility declines among LDCs. U.S. policy also balances the often competing claims of family planners and their opponents by encouraging support to both developmental projects as well as direct aid to family planning program activities.