The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Family Planning

  • Mark R. Rosenzweig
Reference work entry


The phrase ‘family planning’ has come to mean the set of institutions, policies and programmes whose principal objective is to alter the family size decisions of households. Family planning institutions, private or public, attempt to influence fertility choices by (a) direct persuasion of couples to adopt socially ‘appropriate’ family size goals; (b) the dissemination of information on techniques of birth or conception prevention, and (c) the provision of birth or conception control services or inputs at subsidized cost. In addition, governments may adopt policies that directly alter the incentives for bearing and rearing children. Such policies may include income tax exemptions or direct transfers which vary by the number of children and/or economic and social sanctions related to family size, such as restrictions on parental work opportunities or restrictions on schooling or consumption privileges when those are principally supplied by the public sector.

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark R. Rosenzweig
    • 1
  1. 1.