Could we level the playing field? Long-acting reversible contraceptives, nonmarital fertility, and poverty in the United States

Lawrence Wu, Nicholas D.E. Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Could we combat poverty by reducing the number of unintended and nonmarital births? This article proposes a federal policy that would provide all women with information about, and free access to, a range of contraceptive services, including long-acting reversible contraceptives; reviews what it is that we do and do not know; discusses several dynamic selection mechanisms by which this policy could lead to poverty reductions; stresses the need for longitudinal randomized intent-to-treat pilots that would provide causal evidence on whether this policy would in fact reduce poverty; and provides rough estimates of take-up, costs, and benefits were such a policy to substantially increase the use of highly effective contraceptive methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-166
Number of pages23
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018



  • Dynamic selection
  • Long-acting reversible contraceptives
  • Longitudinal intent-to-treat trial
  • Nonmarital fertility
  • Poverty reduction
  • Unintended pregnancies and births

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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