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This paper examines the effects of perceived fertility regulation costs on couples’ contraceptive behavior. These perceived costs—here measured by both general attitudes toward the acceptability of contraception and by attitudes toward specific dimensions of multiple contraceptive methods—are theorized to influence fertility limiting behavior independent of the actual costs of contraception. This analysis is made possible by unique data from Nepal, which contain measures of both women’s and men’s perceptions of the availability, effectiveness, and side effects of multiple contraceptive methods, and 9 years of prospective, monthly contraceptive use data. Findings indicate that husbands’ perceptions of fertility regulation costs have strong consistent effects on method use, independent of their wives perceptions. Further, in this setting, the male contraceptive methods are viewed more positively than female methods by both men and women.
Country of focus: Nepal.