PUBLI : Ilgi Bozdag, Leila Fardeau, Celio Sierra-Paycha & Armelle Andro, « Can demographic targeting alter short-term fertility decisions ? The effects of humanitarian assistance on the fertility behaviour of Syrian refugees in Turkey », SN Social Sciences , vol. 3, 2023


Turkey, as the country with the highest number of refu­gees, is currently home to 3.6 million Syrians who had to flee their country due to the conflict that started in 2011. Since December 2016, refu­gees from all natio­na­li­ties in Turkey can apply for the Emer­gency Social Safety Net (ESSN), the largest huma­ni­ta­rian program ever funded by the Euro­pean Union. ESSN is an uncon­di­tional cash transfer program that targets house­holds using demo­gra­phic criteria to select the most vulne­rable among those who are forcibly displaced and, in 2021, ESSN had a total of 1.7 million bene­fi­cia­ries. Two out of six of these demo­gra­phic targe­ting criteria were directly or indi­rectly affected by the total number of chil­dren in the house­hold, which were a depen­dency ratio equal to or greater than 1.5 (i.e., 3 chil­dren and 2 parents) and having at least 4 minor chil­dren. These criteria are ques­tioned based on whether fami­lies were encou­raged to have more chil­dren to become bene­fi­cia­ries. In this research, we compare the ferti­lity rates, ferti­lity calendar, and birth order of chil­dren of ESSN bene­fi­cia­ries and ineli­gible appli­cants by using propen­sity score matching. Our results show that the exis­tence of the ESSN targe­ting criteria does not encou­rage ineli­gible house­holds to have more chil­dren in order to become eligible for the ESSN. It can, however, encou­rage house­holds to have chil­dren more quickly than they would otherwise.

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