The Effectiveness of Population Policies: Alternative Methods of Statistical Inference.

by T. P. Schultz

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An evaluation of methods used to infer how activities of a family-planning program influence birth rates. Using data from Taiwan, two models, a simultaneous-equations model and an age-aggregated linear-recursive model, are estimated by means of various techniques, including ordinary least squares and two-stage least squares. Results suggest that when appropriate estimation techniques are used, both models imply that the family-planning program has had a marked effect on Taiwan's birth rate. But it is not clear that the number of IUDs successfully inserted (currently the accepted indicator of program accomplishment) is a satisfactory indicator of the program's ultimate effect on birth rates. The choice of techniques to estimate the parameters of a model, more than the choice of model per se, is crucial to the meaningfulness of the analysis for policymaking. Specifically, simultaneous-equations techniques are needed for a better understanding of the effects of population policy on reproductive behavior. 48 pp. Ref.

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