Conditional cash transfers and women's reproductive choices

We study potential non-targeted effects of a large-scale national conditional cash transfer program-Peru's Juntos-on the fertility and reproductive decisions of adult beneficiaries. We use an event study design, exploiting time and geographic variation in the rollout of the program, to identify the causal effects of the program. We find that Juntos decreases the number of children that adult beneficiaries have and that these effects persist over time. We explore various mechanisms and find that Juntos does not affect fertility preferences but rather empowers women to avoid unwanted births. We provide evidence that this decrease is most likely due to better access to and more extensive use of modern birth control methods.