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Demographic Externalities from Poverty Programs in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Latin America

Author

Listed:
  • Guy Stecklov

    (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University)

  • Paul Winters

    () (Department of Economics, American University)

  • Jessica Todd

    (Department of Economics, American University)

  • Ferdinando Regalia

    (Inter-American Development Bank)

Abstract

Conditional cash transfer programs have been shown to be effective development strategies for raising human capital investments in children in many LDCs. In this paper, we use experimental data from cash transfer programs in three Latin America countries to assess the potential, unintended impact of conditional cash transfers programs on childbearing. Because cash transfer programs both affect household resource levels as well as possibly shape parental preferences for quality versus quantity of children, they may prove to have unintended demographic externalities. Our findings show that the program in Honduras, which may have inadvertently been designed to create incentives to have children, may have in fact raised fertility by somewhere between 2-4 percentage points – a non-negligible impact in a country where fertility is relatively high. In the two other countries where the programs did not include the same unintentional incentives, Mexico and Nicaragua, we found no net impact of the programs on fertility. Our analysis also explored the potential mechanisms through which fertility in Honduras may have risen and we find that marriage rates may have increased. Furthermore, there is some indication in the other two countries that contraceptive use rose but this might be simply to counteract the impact of reduced spousal separation – another possible unintentional impact of the poverty programs.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:0106
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gustavo J. Bobonis, 2011. "The Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Marriage and Divorce," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 281-312.
    2. Verónica Amarante & Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp1106, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Powell-Jackson, Timothy & Mazumdar, Sumit & Mills, Anne, 2015. "Financial incentives in health: New evidence from India's Janani Suraksha Yojana," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 154-169.
    4. Handa, Sudhanshu & Peterman, Amber & Huang, Carolyn & Halpern, Carolyn & Pettifor, Audrey & Thirumurthy, Harsha, 2015. "Impact of the Kenya Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children on early pregnancy and marriage of adolescent girls," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 36-45.
    5. de Brauw, Alan & Peterman, Amber, 2011. "Can conditional cash transfers improve maternal health and birth outcomes?: Evidence from El Salvador's Comunidades Solidarias Rurales," IFPRI discussion papers 1080, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Barham, Tania, 2011. "A healthier start: The effect of conditional cash transfers on neonatal and infant mortality in rural Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 74-85, January.
    7. M. Caridad Araujo & Mariano Bosch & Norbert Schady, 2017. "Can Cash Transfers Help Households Escape an Inter-Generational Poverty Trap?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Verónica Amarante & Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "Social Assistance and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from the Uruguayan PANES," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3108, Inter-American Development Bank.
    9. Bruna Atayde Signorini & Bernardo Lanza Queiroz, 2011. "The impact of Bolsa Família Program in the beneficiary fertility," Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG td439, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
    10. Chowdury, Sadia & Vergeer, Petra & Schmidt, Harald & Barroy, Helene & Bishai, David & Halpern, Scott, 2013. "Economics and Ethics of Results-Based Financing for Family Planning: Evidence and Policy Implications," Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Discussion Paper Series 84663, The World Bank.
    11. Sudhanshu Handa & Benjamin Davis, 2006. "The Experience of Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America and the Caribbean," Working Papers 06-07, Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - ESA).
    12. Amanda Glassman & Jessica Todd, 2007. "Performance-Based Incentives for Health: Conditional Cash Transfer Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean," Working Papers 120, Center for Global Development.
    13. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582.
    14. Amanda Glassman, Kate McQueston, and Rachel Silverman, 2012. "Adolescent Fertility in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Effects and Solutions - Working Paper 295," Working Papers 295, Center for Global Development.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fertility; cash transfers; poverty programs; impact evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis

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