Long-Term Consequences of a Family Planning, Child and Reproductive Health Program in Matlab Bangladesh: 1977-1996

T. Paul Schultz, Yale University
Shareen Joshi, University of Chicago

The paper analyzes 141 villages in Matlab, Bangladesh from 1974 to 1996, in which half received from 1977 to 1996 an outreach family planning and maternal-child health program. Village and individual data confirm a decline in fertility of about 15 percent in the program villages compared with the control villages, as others have noted. The consequences of the program on a series of long run family welfare outcomes are then estimated in addition to fertility: women’s health, involvement in production other than childcare, household assets, participation in group activities outside of the family, use of preventive health inputs, and finally the inter-generational effects on the health and schooling of the woman’s children. Many of these indicators of the women’s welfare and that of their children improve significantly in conjunction with the program-induced decline in fertility, suggesting substantial social returns to this reproductive health program in rural South Asia.

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Presented in Session 151: Fertility Differentials and Trends