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Long-Term Financial Incentives and Investment in Daughters: Evidence From Conditional Cash Transfers in North India

  • 2007-2009
  • Project
Sinha, Nistha, World Bank

Study: “Financial Incentives for Female Births and Parental Investments in Daughters: Evidence From a Program in North India”
PI(s): Sinha, Nistha
Co-PI(s): Yoong, Joanne Kannan
Affiliation(s): World Bank
Institutional Partner(s): World Bank
Project Dates:
Start: 2007
End: 2009
Data Source(s): DHS and NFHS Data
Methods: Difference-in-Difference Analysis
Geographic Location(s): India

Since the early 1990s, several states in India have introduced financial incentive programs to discourage son preference among parents and to encourage investment in daughters’ education and health. This study evaluates one such program in the state of Haryana, Apni Beti Apna Dhan (Our Daughter, Our Wealth). Since 1994, eligible parents in Haryana have been offered a financial incentive if they give birth to a girl. The incentive is an immediate cash grant and a long-term savings bond redeemable on the daughter’s 18th birthday provided she is unmarried, with additional bonuses for education. Program participation data are not available, therefore the researchers compared women (ages 15-49) and children based on estimations of program treatment effects using statewide household survey data on fertility and child health. The results imply that Apni Beti Apna Dhan had a positive effect on the sex ratio of living children, but inconclusive effects on mother’s preferences for having female children as well as total desired fertility. The findings also show that parents increased their investment in daughters’ human capital as a result of the program. Families made greater postnatal health investments in eligible girls, with some mixed evidence of improving health status in the short and medium term. Further evidence suggests that the early cohort of eligible school-age girls was not significantly more likely to attend school; however, conditional on first attending any school, they may be more likely to continue their education. The research addresses the policy need to maintain a balanced sex ratio in the population, while reducing the financial burden parents incur in raising girls. Such programs aimed at this need can be effective, especially if the financial transfers are increased so that they are more meaningful to parents.

Research Outputs:

Sinha, Nistha & Yoong, Joanne Kannan. (2009). Long-Term Financial Incentives and Investment in Daughters Evidence from Conditional Cash Transfers in North India (Policy Research Working Paper No. 4860). DOI: 10.1596/1813-9450-4860

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