Friday, September 08, 2006

More on education and contraception

Now I've found an interesting pattern. Discussing polygamy or condoms is how to get many comments and hit rate.. :-) Many thanks for the comments on my previous posting. I was about to make a response to some comments, until I realize my reply worth a separate entry.

Then Yudo mentioned about the need to estimate the effect of education on different contraceptive methods. Actually, that was what I did. In addition to 'any modern method'* I estimated four different methods: 1) birth pills, 2) IUD, 3) periodic abstinence, and 4) condom. There four represents different 'levels of difficulty.'

In terms of difficulty, birth pills are moderate. It is easy to use, but requires some careful attention and understanding on how to effectively use it. IUD is easier -- you just come to the clinic and let the doctor do that for you. But on the same time, you need to have knowledge or awareness and access to the clinic. Periodic abstinence is, well, difficult. A lot of careful calculation is required. Condoms, on the other hand, is no rocket science.

My prior hypothesis is that the more difficult a contraceptive method is, the higher is the impact of education on the probability of using it. So, this is another way to estimate the return on education. But, as I mentioned earlier, I found no statistically significant impact of education on the probability of using the first three. The reason was because the family planning program in Indonesia has been quite successful. So regardless of education and wealth, Indonesian women has relatively had high knowledge and access to contraception.

Interestingly, for condoms -- the easiest method of those four -- the coefficient is (marginally) significant. Meaning that the probability of using condoms still depends on the level of education. This opens the room for more exploration.

Remember that unlike pills, injections or IUD, the use of condoms put the responsibility on men (husbands).** Remember also the unbalanced relative position between men and women in terms of sexual relationship and behavior (read: men are less responsible). For women, more schooling may mean two things: 1) more bargaining position in the household, and 2) higher chance of getting a more educated, more responsible husband.

* Modern method = the term to distinguish 'traditional' or 'folklore' contraceptive method. Boys, please be informed that asking your girlfriend to drink Sprite or jump up and down after having sex is not a modern contraceptive method! It is not even a method...!

** Still yet to find the story for periodic abstinence.



  1. if the main goal is to control birth rate and population, it needs some kind of regime. men and women are both responsible. subsidising, e.g., free IUDs or condoms, may be a good option for the gummint (regardless higher gummint spending that can be balanced by more related taxes). just need to educate people how to follow the regime.

  2. Sprite doesn't work?
    should have heard your grandma for her young pinnaple method...

  3. My guess, it has something to do with the different circumstances under which these different contraceptives are employed.

  4. what about celibacy? it's a method isn't it? =D
    gets me grumpy, but hey! no other kids whatsoever...

    detta, oh it's not just any regular young pinnaple. there's a very special one for that purpose.

  5. slightly off topic, but am i the only one to think that Indonesian girls are more averse towards pills? i almost never met any Indonesian girls (singles, that is) who choose pills. Why is this?