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Conditional Cash Transfers and HIV/AIDS Prevention: Unconditionally Promising?

  • Hans-Peter Kohler
  • Rebecca L. Thornton

Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) have recently received considerable attention as a potentially innovative and effective approach to the prevention of HIV/AIDS. We evaluate a conditional cash transfer program in rural Malawi which offered financial incentives to men and women to maintain their HIV status for approximately one year. The amounts of the reward ranged from zero to approximately 3–4 months wage. We find no effect of the offered incentives on HIV status or on reported sexual behavior. However, shortly after receiving the reward, men who received the cash transfer were 9 percentage points more likely and women were 6.7 percentage points less likely to engage in risky sex. Our analyses therefore question the “unconditional effectiveness” of CCT program for HIV prevention: CCT Programs that aim to motivate safe sexual behavior in Africa should take into account that money given in the present may have much stronger effects than rewards offered in the future, and any effect of these programs may be fairly sensitive to the specific design of the program, the local and/or cultural context, and the degree of agency an individual has with respect to sexual behaviors. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 26 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 165-190

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:26:y:2012:i:2:p:165-190
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  1. Maluccio, John A. & Flores, Rafael, 2005. "Impact evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program: the Nicaraguan Red de Protección Social," Research reports 141, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Emily Oster, 2007. "HIV and Sexual Behavior Change: Why Not Africa?," NBER Working Papers 13049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Pascaline Dupas, 2009. "Do Teenagers Respond to HIV Risk Information? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 14707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597, September.
  7. Paul Gertler & Manisha Shah & Stefano M. Bertozzi, 2005. "Risky Business: The Market for Unprotected Commercial Sex," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 518-550, June.
  8. Xavier Gin� & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Put Your Money Where Your Butt Is: A Commitment Contract for Smoking Cessation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 213-35, October.
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