The Impact of Credit and Family Planning Programs on Fertility and Contraceptive Use in Ethiopia: Results From a Randomized Experiment
Jaikishan Desai, Research For Development India Pvt. Ltd.
Alessandro Tarozzi, Duke University
Knowledge and availability of contraceptive methods as well as factors such as female empowerment and earning capacity are important determinants of fertility decisions. We present results of an experimental design-based evaluation of a micro-credit and family planning program in rural Ethiopia. Administrative areas in the Amhara and Oromia regions were randomly allocated to either one of three intervention groups (introduction of micro-finance, or community-based family planning services, or both) or to a fourth control group. Overall, we find that the introduction of micro-finance increased borrowing and women's access to credit but none of the interventions led to significant increases in contraceptive use relative to control areas. One possible explanation for the lack of impact of the family planning program is that it did not facilitate access to injectables, which appear to be the preferred contraceptive method in the area.