Unconditional government social cash transfer in Africa does not increase fertility
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Among policymakers, a common perception surrounding the effects of cash transfer programmes, particularly unconditional programmes targeted to families with children, is that they induce increased fertility. We evaluate the Zambian Child Grant Programme, a government unconditional cash transfer targeted to families with a child under the age of 5 and examine impacts on fertility and household composition. The evaluation was a cluster randomized control trial, with data collected over 4 years from 2010 to 2014. Our results indicate that there are no programme impacts on overall fertility. Our results contribute to a small evidence base demonstrating that there are no unintended incentives related to fertility due to cash transfers.
KeywordsFertility Unconditional cash transfers Zambia Africa
JEL ClassificationsJ1 I1 I3
The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions.
Compliance with ethical standards
Ethical review of this study was obtained by AIR in Washington, DC, and the University of Zambia’s Research Ethics Committee, and informed consent was obtained from all study participants.
The Child Grant impact evaluation was commissioned by the Government of Zambia (GRZ) through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health to the American Institutes of Research and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and funded by a consortium of donors including DFID, UNICEF, Irish Aid and the Government of Finland. Palermo, Handa and Peterman received additional funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation to the UNICEF Office of Research—Innocenti for analysis of the data and drafting of the manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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