Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


Women’s Access to Family Planning: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Peers and Vouchers

S Anukriti (World Bank)

Thursday, 4 March 2021 at 6:00 PM IST

Social norms and low autonomy constrain women in developing countries from seeking family planning (FP) and reproductive health (RH) services when they want them. We test if these barriers can be overcome by (a) offering women voucher subsidies to seek care, and (b) enabling women to seek FP services with their peers. We conducted a randomized control trial in rural India with three treatment arms: 1) a “SOLO” group, in which a woman received a voucher for subsidized FP services at a local FP clinic only for herself; 2) a “Bring-a-Friend (BAF)” group, in which a woman received a voucher for FP services for herself as well as for any peers who accompanied her to the FP clinic; or 3) a control group. We find that women who received either voucher are more likely than the control group to visit a FP clinic for FP-RH services. Both types of vouchers increased modern contraceptive use significantly, suggesting that a woman’s visits to the FP clinic led to the uptake of modern FP methods. Although we do not find differential effects between the two vouchers on clinic visits, BAF women were more likely than SOLO women to ask someone to accompany them to the FP clinic. We also observe that the BAF voucher induced a change in the composition of peers asked, with BAF women being more likely than SOLO women to ask individuals other than their mothers-in-law and husbands for companionship to the FP clinic.

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