In Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, the neonatal mortality rate is high—about 44 deaths per 1,000 live births. In theory, that rate would go down if more births took place in health clinics where pregnant women could receive assistance from professional care providers. So in 2005, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India introduced a conditional cash transfer program that encourages women in Uttar Pradesh to deliver their babies in accredited clinics.

Since then,...

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