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Finding the benefits: Estimating the impact of the South African child support grant

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  • Marisa Coetzee

Abstract

The paper estimates the impact of the South African Child Support Grant (CSG) on child health, nutrition and education. Data from the 2008 South African National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) are used. Two non-experimental treatment evaluation techniques, both relying on propensity scores, are applied to six different outcome variables. Using propensity score matching with a binary outcome variable, no convincing evidence of improvements on any of the outcome variables is found. A second technique is therefore also applied, using a generalised form of the propensity scores. This follows the approach of Hirano and Imbens (2004) and Agüero et al. (2009). The generalised approach estimates a positive treatment effect for children’s height-for-age and progress through the school system. Although these estimates do provide some evidence of the positive effect of the Child Support Grant on the lives of children, the estimates are small and do not provide clear evidence that the transfers received by caregivers are spent mainly on improving the well-being of beneficiary children. Some potential and plausible explanations for this result are discussed in the paper. Nevertheless, the findings seem to suggest that some of the cash transferred through the Child Support Grant appears to be spent on improving the well-being of children.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 230.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:230

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Keywords: Conditional cash transfer child health and nutrition continuous treatment estimator South Africa;

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References

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  1. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
  2. Anne Case & Victoria Hosegood & Frances Lund, 2005. "The reach and impact of Child Support Grants: evidence from KwaZulu-Natal," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 467-482.
  3. Duncan Thomas, 1994. "Like Father, like Son; Like Mother, like Daughter: Parental Resources and Child Height," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 950-988.
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  18. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  19. Jorge M. Aguero & Michael R. Carter & Ingrid Woolard, 2006. "The Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Nutrition: The South African Child Support Grant," SALDRU Working Papers 8, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  20. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
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  23. World Bank, 2006. "Repositioning Nutrition as Central to Development : A Strategy for Large Scale Action," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7409, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Olivier Basdevant & Dalmacio Benicio & Yorbol Yakhshilikov, 2012. "Inequalities and Growth in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Region," IMF Working Papers 12/290, International Monetary Fund.

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