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The Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Marriage and Divorce

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  • Gustavo J Bobonis

Abstract

A growing number of less-developed countries have introduced conditional cash transfer programs in which funds are targeted to women. Economic models of the family suggest that these transfer programs may lead to marital turnover among program beneficiaries. We use data from the experimental evaluation of the PROGRESA program in Mexico to provide new evidence on the short-run impacts of targeted transfers on couples’ union dissolution and individuals’ new union formation decisions. We find that, although the overall share of women in union does not change as a result of the program, marital turnover increases. Intact families eligible for the transfers experienced a modest (0.32 percentage points) increase in separation rates, with most of the effect concentrated among young and relatively educated women households. In contrast, young single women with low educational attainment levels experienced a substantial increase in new union formation rates. The marital transition patterns are consistent with the workhorse economic model of the marriage market – individuals with the greatest prospects to start new unions and those who may become more attractive in the marriage market are more likely to transition out of existing relationships and form new ones.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-359.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 24 May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-359

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Keywords: conditional cash transfers; welfare policy; marriage; divorce;

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Cited by:
  1. Fitzsimons, Emla & Mesnard, Alice, 2013. "Can conditional cash transfers compensate for a father's absence ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6476, The World Bank.
  2. 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).
  3. Gustavo J Bobonis & Roberto Castro & Melissa Gonzalez-Brenes, 2009. "Public Transfers and Domestic Violence: The Roles of Private Information and Spousal Control," Working Papers tecipa-362, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. World Bank, 2011. "Work and Family : Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12489, The World Bank.

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