Evaluating the Impact of the Poverty-Reduction Programs on Fertility: The Case of the Red de Protección Social in Nicaragua

Jessica E Todd, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Paul C. Winters, American University
Guy Stecklov, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Evaluating the impact of poverty-reduction programs on fertility is limited by the fact any shift in incentives for having children take time to be incorporated into decision making and the observation period for evaluation is usually quite brief. The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of birth spacing as a short-run indicator of the impact of poverty-reduction programs on fertility patterns. Using data from a Nicaraguan conditional cash transfer program that offers incentives for poor households to invest in the health, nutrition and education of children, we estimate the program impact on birth spacing using a stratified Cox proportional hazard model. The results indicate that the program decreased the hazard of a birth, indicating a subtle decrease in fertility.

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Presented in Session 144: Childbearing in Latin America and Asia