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The short-term impacts of a schooling conditional cash transfer program on the sexual behavior of young women

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  • Baird, Sarah
  • Chirwa, Ephraim
  • McIntosh, Craig
  • Ozler, Berk

Abstract

Recent evidence suggests that conditional cash transfer programs for schooling are effective in raising school enrollment and attendance. However, there is also reason to believe that such programs can affect other outcomes, such as the sexual behavior of their young beneficiaries. Zomba Cash Transfer Program is a randomized, ongoing conditional cash transfer intervention targeting young women in Malawi that provides incentives (in the form of school fees and cash transfers) to current schoolgirls and recent dropouts to stay in or return to school. An average offer of US$10/month conditional on satisfactory school attendance – plus direct payment of secondary school fees – led to significant declines in early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and self-reported sexual activity among program beneficiaries after just one year of program implementation. For program beneficiaries who were out of school at baseline, the probability of getting married and becoming pregnant declined by more than 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively. In addition, the incidence of the onset of sexual activity was 38 percent lower among all program beneficiaries than the control group. Overall, these results suggest that conditional cash transfer programs not only serve as useful tools for improving school attendance, but may also reduce sexual activity, teen pregnancy, and early marriage.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5089.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5089

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Keywords: Population Policies; Adolescent Health; Education For All; Primary Education; Disease Control&Prevention;

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  1. Filmer, Deon & Schady, Norbert, 2009. "School enrollment, selection and test scores," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4998, The World Bank.
  2. Duflo, Esther & Dupas, Pascaline & Kremer, Michael & Sinei, Samuel, 2006. "Education and HIV/AIDS prevention : evidence from a randomized evaluation in Western Kenya," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4024, The World Bank.
  3. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, 01.
  4. Corno, Lucia & de Walque, Damien, 2007. "The determinants of HIV infection and related sexual behaviors : evidence from Lesotho," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4421, The World Bank.
  5. Bruhn, Miriam & McKenzie, David, 2008. "In pursuit of balance : randomization in practice in development field experiments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4752, The World Bank.
  6. de Walque, Damien, 2006. "Who gets AIDS and how ? The determinants of HIV infection and sexual behaviors in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3844, The World Bank.
  7. Yamano, Takashi & Jayne, T. S., 2004. "Measuring the Impacts of Working-Age Adult Mortality on Small-Scale Farm Households in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 91-119, January.
  8. Jishnu Das, 2005. "Reassessing Conditional Cash Transfer Programs," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(1), pages 57-80.
  9. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
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