I’m working on a project examining the effect of a 2016 cash transfer on fertility.
Who is eligible for the cash? All families with:
- 2+ children, or
- 1 low-income or disabled child.
The data doesn’t have a variable indicating who got the cash transfer, so as I understand it, I would be doing an “intent to treat” analysis by defining the treatment & control groups based on eligibility.
However, I keep getting stuck on how to define the treatment & control groups. I guess my question is since the cash transfer is universal for ALL families with 2+ kids, what would be the control group then? Theoretically, there should be two similar groups of families with 2+ kids (one who get the cash transfer and the other who don’t), but that’s not possible in this case?
Comparing eligible families (2+ kids or 1 poor/disabled kid) to ineligible families (1 kid that is not poor/disabled or zero kids) would violate one of the core assumptions of causal inference (that the treatment and control groups be similar and only differ in the “treatment”).
I think I’m getting tripped up by how the cash transfer is both universal and birth-dependent.
I’m exploring using a linear probability model with FE or a DID model, but not sure if a DID makes sense? Synthetic control? Any thoughts on modeling strategies?
More context: The data comes from a household survey, which I’ve organized into a panel with fertility histories for each childbearing-aged woman (e.g. each woman has 17 observations, or 18 years containing her time-variant birth information). I have data from 2010-2018 and the program started in 2016. The program grandfathers in anyone who falls in either one of two eligibility categories. The cash transfer is not means or work tested.