Recent Congressional budget deliberations have included proposals to cut all funding for Title X of the Public Health Service Act?legislation which has funded U.S. domestic family planning programs since 1970. Although proponents of these cuts often justify them in terms of the immediate cost savings, understanding their longer-term impact on costs and well-being are crucial to weighing these proposals. For instance, if cuts to family planning programs increase unwanted childbearing which limits parents? education and career investments, these cuts could increase the likelihood that many families and children remain in poverty. As a result, cuts to family planning programs could increase outlays over the longer term for safety net programs such as Medicaid and State Children?s Health Insurance Program.
The proposed project uses restricted Census data to examine the longer-term effects of family planning programs on the material well-being of children and persistence of poverty. Building upon the PI?s NICHD-funded research (R03-HD058065) and forthcoming work, we will (1) collect information on annual federal outlays for family planning by address of grantee and date of funding from 1964 to 1988; (2) link information on street address of family planning provider to restricted Census microdata on household?s block of residence in 1960, 1970, and 1980 in order to use a within-county measure of distance to federally-funded family planning clinics as an additional instrumental variable; (3) quantify the impact of federal family planning programs on the human capital investments and marital outcomes of parents; (4) quantify the impact of federal family planning programs on the material living circumstances of children (including number of siblings, poverty status, household income, parent?s welfare receipt) and their progress in school; (5) examine differences in the effects of federal family planning programs (effects in 3 and 4) by mother?s race and neighborhood characteristics.
The proposed project will make a substantial and policy-relevant contribution to knowledge about the effects of U.S. family planning across places, time, and demographic groups. It proposes an innovative research design that makes novel use of large, restricted census data. The project?s broad objective is to quantify many of the potential returns to federal investments in Title X programs.