Progresa, Early Childbearing, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty in Rural Mexico

Tom Merrick, World Bank Group
Margaret Greene, George Washington University

This paper employs panel data on effects of conditional cash transfers under the Progresa (later renamed Oportunidades) program in Mexico to assess the effect of transfers in mitigating the adverse effects of early childbearing on educational attainment of children of mothers who had first births before age 18 compared to children of mothers whose first births occurred at age 18 and older. Evaluations of the cash transfer program have shown that transfers helped reduce differences in children’s progression from primary to secondary school between poor and non-poor families. Analysis of baseline data for this study shows that children of early child-bearers have lower progression ratios than children of later child-bearers. Further analysis indicates that most of this differential affects girls. By 2000, most of the differences between daughters of early vs. late child-bearers have disappeared. The paper will report results of an analysis comparing the baseline and 2000 surveys.

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Presented in Session 112: Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth and Educational Inequality