Early Childbearing, Cash Transfers, and Girls' Education in Mexico: 1997-2003

Thomas W Merrick, Population Reference Bureau (PRB)

Mexico’s Progresa program sought to reduce the intergenerational transmission of poverty through cash transfers to keep children in school. In a 2007 PAA paper, the author used panel data from the evaluation of Progresa to assess whether transfers mitigated the adverse effects of early childbearing on educational attainment of children of mothers who had first births before age 18. In the 1997 baseline, daughters of early childbearers were less successful than boys in progressing to secondary school. Double-difference regression analysis showed that transfers reduced the initial attendance deficit for daughters by between 3.6 and 4.6 percentage points from 1997 to 2000. Did these benefits persist? The poster follows girls who were 12-16 years old in 2000 to when they were 15-19 years old in 2003. Particular attention is given to daughters of early childbearers to determine whether the program actually did break the intergenerational transmission of poverty through early childbearing.

Presented in Poster Session 3