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Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

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  • Karen Macours

    ()
    (Paris School of Economics and INRA)

  • Norbert Schady

    ()
    (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Renos Vakis

    ()
    (World Bank)

Abstract

Cash transfer programs have become extremely popular in the developing world. There is a large literature on the effects of these programs on schooling, health and nutrition, but relatively little is known about possible impacts on child development. This paper analyzes the impact of a cash transfer program on cognitive development in early childhood in rural Nicaragua. Identification is based on random assignment. We show that children in households assigned to receive benefits had significantly higher levels of development nine months after the program began. There is no fadeout of program effects two years after the program had ended and transfers were discontinued. We show that the changes in child development we observe are unlikely to be a result of the cash component of the program alone.

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File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Macours_Schady_Vakis_2011_cash-transfers-behavioral.pdf
File Function: First version, July 2011
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group in its series Working Papers with number 2011-007.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Publication status: Forthcoming in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2011-007

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  1. CCTs usually increase schooling but few studies have found gains in test scores – what’s behind this disconnect?
    by Jed Friedman in Development Impact on 2012-04-11 13:28:51
  2. El nieto de Hillary Clinton desarrollará así su cerebro
    by Lauren Conn in La educación de calidad es posible on 2014-05-22 15:22:07
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