, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 149–180 | Cite as

Family Planning and Women’s and Children’s Health: Long-Term Consequences of an Outreach Program in Matlab, Bangladesh

  • Shareen JoshiEmail author
  • T. Paul Schultz


We analyze the impact of an experimental maternal and child health and family planning program that was established in Matlab, Bangladesh, in 1977. Village data from 1974, 1982, and 1996 suggest that program villages experienced a decline in fertility of about 17 %. Household data from 1996 confirm that this decline in “surviving fertility” persisted for nearly two decades. Women in program villages also experienced other benefits: increased birth spacing, lower child mortality, improved health status, and greater use of preventive health inputs. Some benefits also diffused beyond the boundaries of the program villages into neighboring comparison villages. These effects are robust to the inclusion of individual, household, and community characteristics. We conclude that the benefits of this reproductive and child health program in rural Bangladesh have many dimensions extending well beyond fertility reduction, which do not appear to dissipate rapidly after two decades.


Fertility Family planning Health and development Program evaluation Bangladesh 



This research was funded by the MacArthur Foundation. T. Paul Schultz was also supported in part by a grant from the Hewlett Foundation. We appreciate the helpful comments from participants at various workshops and conferences at which earlier versions of this paper were presented, as well as from Kenneth Land and three anonymous referees. The programming assistance of Paul McGuire has been valuable. Errors and omissions are our own.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Edmund E. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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