This paper reviews several methods of evaluating family planning programs and comments on the strengths and shortcomings of each. Evidence from Taiwan is summarized that indicates how different methods of evaluation can yield different implications for improving policy. This example clearly shows that the supply of family planning services may be an unreliable indicator of a program's impact on fertility, and until means are found to "hold constant" the underlying socioeconomic forces affecting desired fertility, it may be impossible to isolate and evaluate the contribution of family planning programs to reduction in birth rates. As more resources are spent throughout the world to facilitate and foster reduced fertility, evaluation of these efforts deserves higher priority if one is to learn from experience. Research is needed to ferret out sources of error that bias information systems and to identify weaknesses in methods of statistical inference that must ultimately be responsible for inconsistent policy conclusions. 29 pp. Ref.
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