Can Conditional Cash Transfers Improve Maternal Health and Birth Outcomes? Evidence from El Salvador’s Comunidades Solidarias Rurales

Alan de Brauw, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Amber Peterman, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Although CCTs are traditionally evaluated in relation to child schooling and nutrition outcomes, there is growing interest in examining maternal and reproductive health impacts. However, since evaluations are not typically designed to evaluate these outcomes, there is a lack of rigorous evidence of if and through which pathways these effects may be realized. This paper uses regression discontinuity design and a unique implicit threshold to evaluate the impact of El Salvador’s CCT Comunidades Solidarias Rurales on: 1) prenatal care, 2) skilled attendance at birth, 3) birth in health facility and 4) postnatal care using data collected by the IFPRI in 2006 and 2007. Results indicate that robust impacts are found on outcomes at time of birth, while no impacts are found on health seeking behavior pre and post birth (prenatal and postnatal care). Potential impact pathways as well as implications for program design of these findings are discussed in conclusion.

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Presented in Session 173: Population, Health, and Economic Development