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Do Changes in Condom Availability Affect Short-Term Fertility? Evidence from Rwanda

Steven Mello

The American Economist, 2012, vol. 57, issue 2, 154-170

Abstract: This paper examines the increase in condom supply resulting from the DELIVER project's activity in Rwanda. In particular, I examine whether increases in the availability of condoms affected short-term fertility for women in Rwanda or generated changes in the distribution of births among mothers of certain characteristics. Using Measure DHS survey data, I exploit location-specific variation in the change in condom supply between 2000 and 2005 using a difference-in-differences framework. Via probit methodology, I find some evidence that increases in condom availability reduced short-term fertility and reallocated births, with a higher percentage of births accruing to women with some secondary education. However, closer examination of the data suggests that these results may be driven by increases in stimuli to demand for contraceptives rather than by increases in condom supply. On one hand, this is consistent with the generally accepted argument in development economics today that fertility outcomes are determined more so by demand-side factors than by access to contraceptives. On the other hand, my findings refute a more staunch version of this hypothesis, as they suggest that either increases in condom supply, increases in exposure to family planning advertisements in the media, or a combination of both, yielded changes in fertility behavior.

Keywords: fertility; contraceptives; demography; family planning; health care (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1177/056943451205700202

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