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Benefit-Cost Analysis and Family Planning Programs

Robert H. Haveman
Population and Development Review
Vol. 2, No. 1 (Mar., 1976), pp. 37-64
Published by: Population Council
DOI: 10.2307/1971530
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1971530
Page Count: 28
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Benefit-Cost Analysis and Family Planning Programs
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Abstract

Since family planning programs sponsored by the public sector use scarce, resources, an effective public policy regarding family planning programs presupposes knowledge on the relationship between the benefits and costs of such programs. The paper reviews some of the fundamental concepts involved in benefit-cost analysis, illustrates the application of such analysis to the evaluation of human resources programs, discusses the conceptual and empirical difficulties encountered in such efforts, and assesses the effect benefit-cost analysis has on public policy decisions regarding human resources programs. In the light of that discussion, issues of optimal population growth and of the rationale for public intervention aimed at influencing fertility behavior are examined, and the problems of applying benefit-cost analysis to family planning programs, viewed as public investments, are appraised.

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