Three Strategies to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy


  • Adam Thomas


This paper presents results from fiscal impact simulations of three national-level policies designed to prevent unintended pregnancy: A media campaign encouraging condom use, a pregnancy prevention program for at-risk youth, and an expansion in Medicaid family planning services. These simulations were performed using FamilyScape, a recently developed agent-based simulation model of family formation. In some simulation specifications, policies’ benefits are monetized by accounting for projected reductions in government expenditures on medical care for pregnant women and infants. In a majority of these specifications, policies’ fiscal benefit-cost ratios are less than 1. However, in specifications that account additionally for projected savings to programs that provide a broader range of benefits and services to young children, all three policies have benefit-cost ratios that are comfortably greater than 1. The results from my preferred specifications suggest that the simulated policies would produce returns to taxpayers on each dollar spent of between $2 to $6. On the whole, the results of these simulations imply that all three policies are sound public investments.