The Impact of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Household's Fertility Choices in India

Sayli Javadekar , University of Geneva

This paper tests the impact of a conditional cash transfer program called the Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY) launched by the Government of India in 2005 to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the country, on fertility decisions made my households with respect to the gender composition of their children. By providing access to prenatal sex determination technology on one hand through a precondition of undertaking at least 3 ante natal check and reducing the cost of childbearing on the other through a cash transfer on a live birth in a health institution, this program unintentionally influenced the sex selective behaviour among Indian parents. This paper uses the recent DHS IV data and employs a triple difference estimator that relies on exogeniety of state of residence of program beneficiaries, timing of the program and exogeniety of sex of the first child to estimate the effect of this program on sex selective abortions in India. The paper finds that contrary to previous work on sex selective abortions, JSY led to an increase in number of girls being born and at the same time an increase in infant mortality among girls. It also provides suggestive evidence of nutritional gender gap among the surviving children in India.

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 Presented in Session 121. Sex-Selection at Birth