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Jinko Mondai Kenkyu. 1981 Oct;(160):23-43.

[Review and appraisal of population policies in the developed countries (author's transl)].

[Article in Japanese]



In this article, population policies, specifically fertility policies, in the developed countries were reviewed, and drawing on this review, several theoretical issues facing governments implementing policies aimed at encouraging fertility were discussed. Policies affecting fertility are classified broadly into 2 groups: those affecting the family's demand for children and those affecting the supply of children. The former comprises economic policies such as birth payment, payment of childbearing cost, family allowance, and tax cut, and the latter includes policies regulating the availability of the means of fertility control; i.e., the legal regulation of modern contraceptive methods and induced abortion. Although recent fertility is considerably below the replacement level in most of the Western European countries, there are very few who adopt policies explicitly aimed at raising their fertility level. Policies affecting the demand for children have long been institutionalized as welfare policies rather than as fertility policies in these countries, and the trend toward liberalization of the legal regulation of modern contraceptive methods and induced abortion is clear except where strongly influenced by Catholicism. On the other hand, governments in most Eastern European countries have tried to encourage fertility when faced with a decline below replacement level during the 1960s. They have adopted all possible policy measures for encouraging fertility, notable among them being the rise in family allowance and the limitation of legalized induced abortion to only those who have a certain amount of children. Governments which encourage fertility must solve at least 4 issues before implementing their fertility policies: 1) legitimizing the intervention into inalienable human rights; i.e., marriage and human reproduction; 2) adjusting the new goal of fertility encouragement with other established goals which every government must pursue, especially with regard to budget allocation, 3) the acceptability of specific policy measures, and 4) the effectiveness of policy measures for fertility reduction. In contrast with Eastern European countries where governments manipulate the mass media and force the national goal upon families, it is difficult to legitimatize the national goal of fertility to individual families, to deprive funds for fertility policies of the regular budget, to adopt policy measures which regulate the availability of modern contraceptive methods, and the accessibility to legal induced abortion in Western European democratic countries. Thus, it does not seem to be an easy task for democratic governments to effectively affect childbearing decisions of individual families by policy measures. (author's)

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