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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. Anne Case, 2004. "Does Money Protect Health Status? Evidence from South African Pensions," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 287-312 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
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  20. van der Berg, Servaas & Burger, Ronelle & Louw, Megan, 2007. "Post-Apartheid South Africa: Poverty and Distribution Trends in an Era of Globalization," Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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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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