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Demographic Externalities from Poverty Programs in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Latin America

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Author Info

  • Guy Stecklov

    (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University)

  • Paul Winters

    ()
    (Department of Economics, American University)

  • Jessica Todd

    (Department of Economics, American University)

  • Ferdinando Regalia

    (Inter-American Development Bank)

Abstract

Conditional cash transfer programs have been shown to be effective development strategies for raising human capital investments in children in many LDCs. In this paper, we use experimental data from cash transfer programs in three Latin America countries to assess the potential, unintended impact of conditional cash transfers programs on childbearing. Because cash transfer programs both affect household resource levels as well as possibly shape parental preferences for quality versus quantity of children, they may prove to have unintended demographic externalities. Our findings show that the program in Honduras, which may have inadvertently been designed to create incentives to have children, may have in fact raised fertility by somewhere between 2-4 percentage points – a non-negligible impact in a country where fertility is relatively high. In the two other countries where the programs did not include the same unintentional incentives, Mexico and Nicaragua, we found no net impact of the programs on fertility. Our analysis also explored the potential mechanisms through which fertility in Honduras may have risen and we find that marriage rates may have increased. Furthermore, there is some indication in the other two countries that contraceptive use rose but this might be simply to counteract the impact of reduced spousal separation – another possible unintentional impact of the poverty programs.

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File URL: http://w.american.edu/cas/economics/repec/amu/workingpapers/2006-01.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2006-01.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:0106

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Web page: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/

Related research

Keywords: fertility; cash transfers; poverty programs; impact evaluation;

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References

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  4. Gregory Acs, 1996. "The Impact of Welfare on Young Mothers' Subsequent Childbearing Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 898-915.
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  7. Maluccio, John A. & Flores, Rafael, 2004. "Impact evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program," FCND discussion papers 184, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Whittington, L.A. & Peters, H.E., 1989. "Fertility And The Personal Exemption: Implicit Pronatalist Policy In The United States," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 89-6, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  9. Guy Stecklov & Paul Winters & Marco Stampini & Benjamin Davis, 2005. "Do conditional cash transfers influence migration? A study using experimental data from the Mexican progresa program," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 769-790, November.
  10. Cigno, Alessandro, 1986. "Fertility and the Tax-Benefit System: A Reconsideration of the Theory of Family Taxation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1035-51, December.
  11. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  12. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  13. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Amanda Glassman, Kate McQueston, and Rachel Silverman, 2012. "Adolescent Fertility in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Effects and Solutions - Working Paper 295," Working Papers 295, Center for Global Development.
  2. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582, October.
  3. Barham, Tania, 2011. "A healthier start: The effect of conditional cash transfers on neonatal and infant mortality in rural Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 74-85, January.
  4. Amarante, Veronica & Manacorda, Marco & Miguel, Edward & Vigorito, Andrea, 2012. "Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 8740, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. de Brauw, Alan & Peterman, Amber, 2011. "Can conditional cash transfers improve maternal health and birth outcomes?: Evidence from El Salvador's Comunidades Solidarias Rurales," IFPRI discussion papers 1080, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Amanda Glassman & Jessica Todd, 2007. "Performance-Based Incentives for Health: Conditional Cash Transfer Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean," Working Papers 120, Center for Global Development.
  7. Gustavo J. Bobonis, 2011. "The Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Marriage and Divorce," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 281 - 312.
  8. Chowdury, Sadia & Vergeer, Petra & Schmidt, Harald & Barroy, Helene & Bishai, David & Halpern, Scott, 2013. "Economics and Ethics of Results-Based Financing for Family Planning: Evidence and Policy Implications," Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Discussion Paper Series 84663, The World Bank.
  9. Sudhanshu Handa & Benjamin Davis, 2006. "The Experience of Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America and the Caribbean," Working Papers 06-07, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
  10. Bruna Atayde Signorini & Bernardo Lanza Queiroz, 2011. "The impact of Bolsa Família Program in the beneficiary fertility," Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG td439, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.

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