Foreign Aid and Adolescent Fertility Rate: Cross-Country Evidence

Document Type


Publication Date



De Gruyter

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Journal of Globalization and Development

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Original Item ID

DOI: 10.1515/jgd-2018-0051


This study examines the role of official development assistance (ODA) in affecting adolescent fertility rates in low- and middle-income countries. Approximately 95% of adolescent births occur in middle- and low-income countries, and the average adolescent fertility rate in low-income countries is five times higher than in high-income countries. Aid donors typically pursue multiple objectives when providing development aid, many of which can go beyond changes in per capita GDP and include human capital factors such as adolescent fertility and infant mortality. Using data over the period from 1995 to 2015, our results suggest that total ODA has a beneficial impact by lowering the adolescent fertility rate either directly or through the channel of income growth. Our results also show that this beneficial effect on the adolescent fertility rate is stronger in low-income countries than in middle-income countries. Findings based on sectoral aid suggest that health aid has a stronger effect than aid in other sectors.


Journal of Globalization and Development, Vol. 11, No. 1 (October 2020): 20180051. DOI.