Impact of a Kenyan National Poverty Program on Early Pregnancy

Sudhanshu Handa, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Carolyn Huang, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Social cash transfers (SCTs), an increasingly popular anti-poverty program, have been found to achieve gains in schooling, health and nutrition of children, and improve the general welfare of recipient families. Only a few studies have examined extensions into other social outcomes - whether SCTs could have impacts upon sexual debut, early pregnancy, marriage and migratory effects. Our study uses a social experiment designed to evaluate Kenya’s national social cash transfer program to understand the relationship between SCTs and impact on fertility and early marriage. We find that the program has a statistically significant impact in delaying pregnancy among young women ages 12-24, and the effect appears to work through three channels: 1) delayed marriage; 2) prolonged enrollment in school; 3) keeping young women from moving out of the household. These findings indicate that SCTs have the potential to address vulnerability among young women.

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Presented in Session 116: Policy, Children and Families