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Can a conditional cash transfer reduce teen fertility? The case of Brazil’s Bolsa Familia

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  • Olson, Zachary
  • Clark, Rachel Gardner
  • Reynolds, Sarah Anne

Abstract

In 2008, Brazil's conditional cash transfer program expanded to cover a wider range of ages. Poor families are now given stipends for their children's school attendance up to age seventeen, whereas prior the maximum age was fifteen. Using a nationally representative household survey, we estimate the impact of this policy on teen fertility with a triple difference analysis on the fertility outcomes of treated cohorts vs. non-treated cohorts based on income eligibility, age eligibility, and timing of program implementation. We find a three percentage point drop in fertility among eligible teens within five years of program implementation. This offsets the difference in fertility between poor and non-poor teens. The impact is concentrated in urban areas, with no program effects found in rural areas. We are able to replicate these findings using National Birth Registry Data.

Suggested Citation

  • Olson, Zachary & Clark, Rachel Gardner & Reynolds, Sarah Anne, 2019. "Can a conditional cash transfer reduce teen fertility? The case of Brazil’s Bolsa Familia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 128-144.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:63:y:2019:i:c:p:128-144
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2018.10.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Reynolds, Sarah Anne, 2015. "Brazil's Bolsa Familia: Does it work for adolescents and do they work less for it?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 23-38.
    2. Cortés Darwin & Gallego Juan & Maldonado Darío, 2016. "On the Design of Educational Conditional Cash Transfer Programs and Their Impact on Non-Education Outcomes: The Case of Teenage Pregnancy," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 219-258, January.
    3. Guy Stecklov & Paul Winters & Jessica Todd & Ferdinando Regalia, 2006. "Demographic Externalities from Poverty Programs in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Latin America," Working Papers 2006-01, American University, Department of Economics.
    4. Sarah Baird & Ephraim Chirwa & Craig McIntosh & Berk Özler, 2010. "The short‐term impacts of a schooling conditional cash transfer program on the sexual behavior of young women," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(S1), pages 55-68, September.
    5. David Lam & Suzanne Duryea, 1999. "Effects of Schooling on Fertility, Labor Supply, and Investments in Children, with Evidence from Brazil," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 160-192.
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