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Reducing Adolescent Risky Behaviors in a High-Risk Context: The Effects of Unconditional Cash Transfers in South Africa

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  • Carolyn J. Heinrich
  • John Hoddinott
  • Michael Samson

Abstract

South African adolescents living in poverty are at significant risk for negative outcomes associated with risky sexual activity and substance use. The South African government introduced the Child Support Grant (CSG) to reduce poverty and provide protection from these risks. We use variation in grant receipt by age to estimate potential effects of this unconditional cash transfer program on adolescent outcomes. The study findings suggest that the CSG may play an important role in reducing adolescent risky behaviors, particularly early sexual debut among females. The results also suggest that policy efforts to expand grant access to children up to adulthood and to reduce barriers to maintaining grant access for those living in poverty should improve outcomes for South African adolescents.

Suggested Citation

  • Carolyn J. Heinrich & John Hoddinott & Michael Samson, 2017. "Reducing Adolescent Risky Behaviors in a High-Risk Context: The Effects of Unconditional Cash Transfers in South Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(4), pages 619-652.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/691552
    DOI: 10.1086/691552
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    Cited by:

    1. Neryvia Pillay Bell, 2020. "The impacts of unconditional cash transfers on schooling in adolescence and young adulthood- Evidence from South Africa," Working Papers 10023, South African Reserve Bank.
    2. Eyal, Katherine & Burns, Justine, 2019. "The parent trap: Cash transfers and the intergenerational transmission of depressive symptoms in South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 211-229.
    3. Owusu-Addo, Ebenezer & Renzaho, Andre M.N. & Smith, Ben J., 2018. "Evaluation of cash transfer programs in sub-Saharan Africa: A methodological review," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 47-56.

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