Over the past 60 years, population control has become an increasingly urgent issue worldwide as a growing population strains already limited resources. The use of financial incentives to promote family planning is an innovative approach that has potential to make a contribution to efforts to better manage population growth. This report reviews eight studies that examined the effect of incentives on family planning.
Published studies that tested the impact of incentives to promote some aspect of family planning and included an appropriate control or comparison condition were reviewed.
Incentives have been used to promote attendance at contraceptive education sessions, adoption and continuation of contraceptive methods, sterilization, and to limit family size. All but one of the eight studies reviewed reported positive outcomes, but weaknesses in study design and execution limit the strength of the conclusions that can be drawn.
Review of this literature suggests that family planning behaviors, like other behaviors, are sensitive to incentives. Given the tremendous need for efficacious interventions in global efforts to manage population growth, further research on this topic using more rigorous experimental methods is warranted.