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Examining the effects of a two-child policy in rural India
Authors: Bidisha Mandal and Wenjun Wu
Source: Journal of Population Research, 40
Topic(s): Family structure
Country: Asia
Published: MAY 2023
Abstract: A two-child policy has been in effect in rural areas in multiple Indian states for over 2 decades. We examine the effectiveness of the policy on fertility, sex ratio, and female infant mortality. We utilize data from the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (2015–2016) and use propensity score matching models to examine whether the policy influences household fertility behavior. First, fertility behavior of women residing in policy states who married before the mandate are compared to those who married after the mandate. Second, fertility behavior of women residing in policy states are compared to those living in non-policy states. The policy is found to lower the number of children in a household and to decrease the likelihood of having more than two children. However, pre-policy absence of a male child is positively and statistically significantly associated with excess fertility, higher proportion of post-policy male children, and higher female infant mortality among rural households with at least two children before the policy was implemented.