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Presented By: Institute for Social Research

How Subsidies Affect Contraceptive Use Among Low-Income Women in the U.S.: The M-CARES Randomized Control Trial

Vanessa Lang

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This paper examines how subsidies affect the use of contraceptives among low-income women seeking reproductive health care in the U.S. Study participants were randomized to receive vouchers for contraception, covering up to 50% or 100% of the lowest-cost, available long-acting, reversible contraceptive method (LARC). Women’s choice of method is highly sensitive to price, with the elasticity of LARC take-up ranging from -2.3 to -3.4. The findings imply that a U.S. policy eliminating out-of-pocket costs for Title X women would reduce pregnancies by 5.4%, birth rates by 3.5%, and abortions by 8.1% and save $2.48 billion annually in public expenditures.

BIO: Vanessa Wanner Lang received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Bowling Green State University in 2019. She joined the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan in 2019 as the project manager for the Michigan Contraceptive Access, Research, and Evaluation Study (M-CARES). Dr. Lang was trained as a family demographer and sociologist and has research interests in fertility, work and family, parent and child relationships, gender, and well-being. One line of her research centers on studying fertility behaviors with a specific focus on unintended childbearing in the United States and the policy implications surrounding access to contraception for women and children’s outcomes. Another line of her research focuses on understanding the changing roles and responsibilities of women and men in the spheres of paid work and family and how these are associated with the well-being of both couples and individuals.


PSC Brown Bag seminars highlight recent research in population studies and serve as a focal point for building our research community.

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