IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Empowering women: how Mexico's conditional cash transfer programme raised prenatal care quality and birth weight


  • Sarah Barber
  • Paul Gertler


Data from a controlled randomised trial are used to estimate the effect of Mexico's conditional cash transfer programme, Oportunidades, on birth outcomes, and to examine the pathways by which it works. Birth weights average 127.3 grams higher, and low birth weight incidence is 44.5 per cent lower among beneficiary mothers. Better birth outcomes are explained entirely by better quality prenatal care. Oportunidades affected quality through empowering women with information about adequate healthcare content to expect better care, and with skills and social support to negotiate better care. Efforts to empower the less well-off are necessary for public services to fully benefit the poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Barber & Paul Gertler, 2010. "Empowering women: how Mexico's conditional cash transfer programme raised prenatal care quality and birth weight," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 51-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevef:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:51-73 DOI: 10.1080/19439341003592630

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pablo Ibarrarán & Miguel Sarzosa & Yuri Soares, 2008. "The Welfare Impacts of Local Investment Projects: Evidence from the Guatemala FIS," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3020, Inter-American Development Bank.
    2. Núria Bosch & Francisco Pedraja & Javier Suárez-Pandiello, 2001. "The efficiency of refuse collection services in Spanish municipalities: do non-controllable variables matter?," Working Papers 2001/4, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    3. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
    4. Pablo Ibarrarán & Miguel Sarzosa & Yuri Soares, 2008. "The Welfare Impacts of Local Investment Projects: Evidence from the Guatemala FIS," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 26318, Inter-American Development Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sarah Baird & Ephraim Chirwa & Jacobus de Hoop & Berk Özler, 2014. "Girl Power: Cash Transfers and Adolescent Welfare: Evidence from a Cluster-Randomized Experiment in Malawi," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume II: Human Capital, pages 139-164 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Margaret Triyana, 2016. "Do Health Care Providers Respond to Demand-Side Incentives? Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 255-288, November.
    3. Alderman, Harold, 2014. "Can transfer programs be made more nutrition sensitive?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1342, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:498-517 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nursel Aydiner Avsar, 2014. "Conditional Cash Transfer Programs from a Gender Perspective: A Comparative Evaluation for Turkey," European Journal of Economic and Political Studies, Fatih University, vol. 7(2), pages 37-66.
    6. Skovdal, Morten & Robertson, Laura & Mushati, Phyllis & Dumba, Lovemore & Sherr, Lorraine & Nyamukapa, Constance & Gregson, Simon, 2013. "Acceptability of conditions in a community-led cash transfer programme for orphaned and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 52945, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. KUMARA, Ajantha Sisira & PFAU, Wade Donald, 2010. "IMPACT of Cash Transfer Programs on School Attendance and Child Poverty: An Ex-ante Simulation for Sri Lanka," MPRA Paper 30501, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 11 Aug 2010.
    8. Mary F. Evans & Eric Helland & Jonathan Klick & Ashwin Patel, 2016. "The Developmental Effect Of State Alcohol Prohibitions At The Turn Of The Twentieth Century," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 762-777, April.
    9. Lentz, Erin C. & Barrett, Christopher B., 2013. "The economics and nutritional impacts of food assistance policies and programs," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 151-163.
    10. repec:fpr:export:1342 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Pascaline Dupas & Edward Miguel, 2016. "Impacts and Determinants of Health Levels in Low-Income Countries," NBER Working Papers 22235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    public policy; evaluation; poverty; Mexcio;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jdevef:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:51-73. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.