Girl Power: Cash Transfers and Adolescent Welfare. Evidence from a Cluster-Randomized Experiment in Malawi

36 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2013

See all articles by Sarah Baird

Sarah Baird

George Washington University - School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS)

Ephraim W. Chirwa

University of Malawi

Jacobus de Hoop

University of Rome Tor Vergata

Berk Ozler

World Bank - Development Economics Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: September 2013

Abstract

Interventions targeting adolescent girls are seen as a key component in the fight to break the cycle of poverty in developing countries. Policies that enable them to reach their full potential can have a strong impact not only on their own wellbeing, but also on that of future generations. This paper summarizes the short-term impacts of a cash transfer program on the empowerment of adolescent girls in Malawi during and immediately after the two-year intervention. We find that the program, which transferred cash directly to school-age girls as well as their parents, had effects on a broad range of important domains - including increased access to financial resources, improved schooling outcomes, decreased teen pregnancies and early marriages, better health - and generally enabled beneficiaries to improve their agency within their households. Underlying these overall impacts, the experiment revealed important differences in program effects between young women who were in school at the start of the intervention and those that were not, as well as between young women who received cash transfers conditional on regular school attendance and those who received cash unconditionally. The results point to the potential role that cash transfer programs can play in improving the lives of adolescent girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the heterogeneity of effects under different program designs.

Suggested Citation

Baird, Sarah and Chirwa, Ephraim W. and de Hoop, Jacobus and Ozler, Berk, Girl Power: Cash Transfers and Adolescent Welfare. Evidence from a Cluster-Randomized Experiment in Malawi (September 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19479. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2332551

Sarah Baird

George Washington University - School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) ( email )

2300 I Street, NW
Ross Hall 106
Washington, DC 20037
United States

Ephraim W. Chirwa

University of Malawi ( email )

P.O. Box 278
Zomba
Malawi

Jacobus De Hoop

University of Rome Tor Vergata

Via di Tor Vergata
Rome, Lazio 00133
Italy

Berk Ozler

World Bank - Development Economics Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/bozler

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