The impact of India's JSY conditional cash transfer programme: a replication study
3ie Replication Paper 6, 2015
Natalie Carvalho and Slawa Rokicki
Conditional cash transfer programmes are becoming increasingly popular in low- and middle- income countries, with the goal of improving access to health and social services and reducing inequities in access and outcomes for the poor and marginalised. India’s conditional cash transfer programme, Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), established in 2005, is one of the largest such programmes in the world. Along with small payments to community health workers, it provides financial incentives to pregnant women to encourage them to deliver in health facilities. Lim et al.’s Lancet article, ‘India’s Janani Suraksha Yojana, a conditional cash transfer programme to increase births in health facilities: an impact evaluation’ (2010), was the first formal statistical impact evaluation of the programme across the whole of India. This replication study, through robustness checks and additional model specifications, re-examines this recent work on the effect of financial incentives for women through the programme on reproductive health coverage indicators and perinatal and neonatal mortality. Of three analytic approaches taken by Lim et al. (2010), this replication focused on exact matching analysis, using data from round three of India’s district-level household survey (DLHS-3). We found the original authors’ results to be replicable and robust to various changes in model specifications and analysis. We were able to replicate quite closely the national and subnational results reported by Lim et al. We conducted several additional analyses as robustness checks including alternative matching estimators, analyses to account for differential implementation of the programme and random effects models to examine state-level heterogeneity in results. We found meaningful heterogeneity across states and districts in the effects of JSY on reproductive health coverage indicators and mortality outcomes. Accounting for state-and district- level heterogeneity has important implications for understanding the effectiveness of this programme.
Keywords: replication study, conditional cash transfers, maternal health, neonatal mortality, skilled birth attendance