Unconditional government social cash transfer in Africa does not increase fertility
- 701 Downloads
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.
- American Institutes for Research (2011) Zambia’s Child Grant Program: baseline report. American Institutes for Research, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- American Institutes for Research (2015) Zambia’s Child Grant Program: 48 month impact report. American Institutes for Research, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Arenas E, Parker SW, Rubalcalva LN, Teruel GM (2015) Do conditional cash transfer programs affect fertility and marriage? Long term impacts of a Mexican Cash Transfer Program. Paper presented at the Population Association of America Annual Meeting, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
- Baird S, McIntosh C, Özler B (2011) Cash or condition? Evidence from a cash transfer experiment. Q J Econ qjr032Google Scholar
- Becker GS (1960) An economic analysis of fertility demographic and economic change in developed countries. Columbia University Press, 209–240Google Scholar
- Bor J (2013) Cash transfers and teen pregnancy in South Africa: evidence from a natural experiment. Boston University, BostonGoogle Scholar
- Cain M (1981) Risk and insurance: perspectives on fertility and agrarian change in India and Bangladesh. Popul Dev Rev 435–474Google Scholar
- Central Statistical Office (CSO), Ministry of Health (MOH), Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC), University of Zambia, & Inc., M. I (2009) Zambia Demographic and Health Survey 2007. CSO and Macro International Inc., CalvertonGoogle Scholar
- Central Statistical Office (CSO), Ministry of Health (MOH), Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC), University Teaching Hospital-Virology Laboratory, University of Zambia, & ICF International (2014) Zambia Demographic and Health Survey 2013–2014. CSO and ICF Macro, CalvertonGoogle Scholar
- Easterlin RA (1975) An economic framework for fertility analysis. Stud Family Plan 54–63Google Scholar
- Falcão Silva T (2015) Email on Brazil’s Bolsa Familia from Secretaria Extraordinária para Superação da Extrema Pobreza, Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social e Combate à FomeGoogle Scholar
- Goldblatt B (2003) Teen pregnancy and abuse of the child support grant. Addressing the myths and stereotypes. Agenda 17(56):79–83Google Scholar
- Gulemetova-Swan M (2009) Evaluating the impact of conditional cash transfer programs on adolescent decisions about marriage and fertility: the case of oportunidadesGoogle Scholar
- Heinrich C, Hoddinott J, Samson M, Mac Quene K, van Nikerk I, Renaud B (2012) The South African child support grant impact assessment. Department of Social Development, South African Social Security Agency, UNICEF, South AfricaGoogle Scholar
- Heinrich C, Hoddinott J, Samson M (2015) Reducing adolescent risky behaviors in a high-risk context: the effects of unconditional cash transfers in South AfricaGoogle Scholar
- Hochfeld T, Plagerson S (2011) The social construction of the cash transfer mother in Soweto, South Africa: the emergence of social stigma?: Johannesburg: Centre for Social Development in AfricaGoogle Scholar
- Lawrance EC (1991) Poverty and the rate of time preference: evidence from panel data. J Political Econ 54–77Google Scholar
- Lund F, (2008) Changing social policy: the child support grant in South Africa: HSRC press Cape TownGoogle Scholar
- Macours K, Schady N, Vakis R (2012) Cash transfers, behavioral changes, and cognitive development in early childhood: evidence from a randomized experiment. Am Econo J: Appl Econ 4(2):247–273Google Scholar
- Malawi SCT Evaluation Team (2015) Malawi Social Cash Transfer Programme Midline Impact Evaluation Report: Carolina Population Center; UNICEF Office of Research; Centre for Social Research, University of MalawiGoogle Scholar
- Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger (2012). Evolution of fertility rates by region and per capita household income between 2000 and 2010. Technical Note No. 067/2012/GAB/SAGI/MDSGoogle Scholar
- Richter M (2009) Bread, baby shoes or blusher? Myths about social grants and‘lazy’young mothers. SAMJ: South Afr Med J 99(2):94Google Scholar
- Stecklov G, Winters P (2011) Do Cash transfers impact childbearing and childrearing? Experimental evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. Working PaperGoogle Scholar
- Upadhyay UD, Karasek D (2012) Women’s empowerment and ideal family size: an examination of DHS empowerment measures in sub-Saharan Africa. International perspectives on sexual and reproductive health, 78–89Google Scholar
- Verbeek M (2008) A guide to modern econometrics: WileyGoogle Scholar