Date

2016

Department or Program

Economics

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Patrick McEwan

Additional Advisor(s)

Kristin Butcher

Abstract

Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs have been widely used in the developing world as a tool to break the poverty cycle. Short-term studies have found positive impacts of CCTs on education and health outcomes. However, little is known about longer-term outcomes of beneficiaries and any unintended consequences, namely on fertility, that there may be. This paper assesses medium-term (5-6 years after program implementation) impacts of a Honduran CCT, PRAF-II, on education and fertility. PRAF-II was a random experiment that provided cash transfers to 40 out of 70 poor municipalities. Conditions included school enrollment and regular health checkups. Using data from USAID’s Honduran DHS Survey from 2005-2006, I find that very young children receiving cash transfers conditioned on health checkups were more likely to enroll in primary school on time. Children receiving cash transfers conditioned on school enrollment saw sustained increases in education acquisition, even after cash payments ended. Finally, I find that there was no persistent impact on fertility, as women simply moved forward their birthing decisions.

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