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The Impact of the Bolsa Escola/Familia Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Enrollment, Drop Out Rates and Grade Promotion in Brazil

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  • Paul Glewwe
  • Ana Lucia Kassouf

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of Brazil's Bolsa Escola (later renamed Bolsa Familia) program on children's progress in school in Brazil. The Bolsa program, which started in the 1990s and expanded rapidly in 2001 and 2002, provides monthly cash payments to poor households if their children (between the ages of 6 and 15) are enrolled in school. Using eight years of school census data (from 1998 to 2005), our estimation method compares changes in enrollment and in dropout and grade advancement rates across schools that adopted the Bolsa program at different times. We estimate that, after accounting for cumulative effects, the Bolsa program has increased enrollment in Brazil by about 5.5 percent in grades 1-4 and by about 6.5 percent in grades 5-8. We also estimate that the program has lowered dropout rates by about 0.5 percentage points and raised grade promotion rates by about 0.9 percentage points for children in grades 1-4, and has reduced dropout rates by about 0.4 percentage points and increased grade promotion rates by about 0.3 percentage points for children in grades 5-8. Only about one third of Brazil’s children participate in the Bolsa program, so the assumption that these results are mainly due to the impact of the program on participants, with no effect on non-participants, implies that the impact of participating in the Bolsa program is about three times higher than these estimates. While these impacts cast a favorable light on the program, simple calculations based on the enrollment impacts suggest that the likely benefits in terms of increased wages may not exceed the costs of the program.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto in its series Working Papers with number 08_16.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fea:wpaper:08_16

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  1. Schady, Norbert & Araujo, Maria Caridad, 2006. "Cash transfers, conditions, school enrollment, and child work : evidence from a randomized experiment in Ecuador," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3930, The World Bank.
  2. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," NBER Working Papers 7750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alan B. Krueger & Mikael Lindahl, 2000. "Education for Growth: Why and For Whom?," NBER Working Papers 7591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Eric Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Discussion Papers 07-034, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  5. Dubois, P. & De Janvry, A. & Sadoulet, E., 2002. "Effects on school enrollment and performance of a conditional transfers program in Mexico," Economics Working Paper Archive (Toulouse) 36, French Institute for Agronomy Research (INRA), Economics Laboratory in Toulouse (ESR Toulouse).
  6. FranÁois Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Phillippe G. Leite, 2003. "Conditional Cash Transfers, Schooling, and Child Labor: Micro-Simulating Brazil's Bolsa Escola Program," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 229-254, December.
  7. Andrea Rodrigues Ferro & Ana Lucia Kassouf & Deborah Levison, 2011. "The Impact Ofconditional Cash Transfer Programs On Household Work Decisions In Brazil," Anais do XXXVII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 37th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 208, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  8. Norbert Schady & Maria Caridad Araujo, 2008. "Cash Transfers, Conditions, and School enrollment in Ecuador," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  9. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Wendy Parker, 2001. "Conditional Cash Transfers and Their Impact on Child Work and Schooling: Evidence from the PROGRESA Program in Mexico," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  11. Fabio Veras Soares & Rafael Perez Ribas & Rafael Guerreiro Osório, 2007. "Evaluating the Impact of Brazil?s Bolsa Família: Cash Transfer Programmes in Comparative Perspective," Publications 1, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  12. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. Khandker, Shahidur & Pitt, Mark & Fuwa, Nobuhiko, 2003. "Subsidy to Promote Girls' Secondary Education: The Female Stipend Program in Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 23688, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. World Bank, 2001. "Brazil : Assessment of the Bolsa Escola Programs," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15705, The World Bank.
  15. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
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  17. Eliana Cardoso & Andre Portela Souza, 2004. "The Impact of Cash Transfers on Child Labor and School Attendance in Brazil," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0407, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  18. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cruz, Marcio & Ziegelhofer, Zacharias, 2014. "Beyond the income effect : impacts of conditional cash transfer programs on private investments in human capital," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6867, The World Bank.
  2. Kate Ambler & Diego Aycinena & Dean Yang, 2014. "Channeling Remittances to Education: A Field Experiment Among Migrants from El Salvador," NBER Working Papers 20262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kirdar, Murat G. & Dayioglu, Meltem & Koc, Ismet, 2012. "Does longer compulsory education equalize educational attainment by gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background?," MPRA Paper 39995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Chitolina, Lia & Foguel, Miguel Nathan & Menezes-Filho, Naercio, 2013. "The impact of the expansion of the Bolsa Familia Program on the time allocation of youths and their parents," Insper Working Papers wpe_326, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.

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