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Cash or condition ? evidence from a cash transfer experiment

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Author Info

  • Baird, Sarah
  • Mcintosh, Craig
  • Ozler, Berk

Abstract

Conditional Cash Transfer programs are"...the world's favorite new anti-poverty device,"(The Economist, July 29 2010) yet little is known about the specific role of the conditions in driving their success. In this paper, we evaluate a unique cash transfer experiment targeted at adolescent girls in Malawi that featured both a conditional (CCT) and an unconditional (UCT) treatment arm. We find that while there was a modest improvement in school enrollment in the UCT arm in comparison to the control group, this increase is only 43 percent as large as the CCT arm. The CCT arm also outperformed the UCT arm in tests of English reading comprehension. The schooling condition, however, proved costly for important non-schooling outcomes: teenage pregnancy and marriage rates were substantially higher in the CCT than the UCT arm. Our findings suggest that a CCT program for early adolescents that transitions into a UCT for older teenagers would minimize this trade-off by improving schooling outcomes while avoiding the adverse impacts of conditionality on teenage pregnancy and marriage.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5259.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5259

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Related research

Keywords: Education For All; Population Policies; Primary Education; Tertiary Education; Teaching and Learning;

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References

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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 184-193, February.
  2. Kremer, Michael R. & Miguel, Edward & Thornton, Rebecca, 2009. "Incentives to Learn," Scholarly Articles 3716457, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Eric V. Edmonds & Norbert Schady, 2012. "Poverty Alleviation and Child Labor," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 100-124, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Jason M. Fletcher & Barbara L. Wolfe, 2009. "Education and Labor Market Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Evidence Using the Timing of Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Fixed Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  6. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2009. "Do Better Schools Lead to More Growth? Cognitive Skills, Economic Outcomes, and Causation," IZA Discussion Papers 4575, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-73, April.
  8. de Brauw, Alan & Hoddinott, John, 2011. "Must conditional cash transfer programs be conditioned to be effective? The impact of conditioning transfers on school enrollment in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 359-370, November.
  9. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Vakis, Renos, 2006. "Can conditional cash transfer programs serve as safety nets in keeping children at school and from working when exposed to shocks?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 349-373, April.
  10. Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-75, October.
  11. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Marianne Bertrand & Leigh L. Linden & Francisco Perez-Calle, 2011. "Improving the Design of Conditional Transfer Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Education Experiment in Colombia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 167-95, April.
  12. Edmonds, Eric V., 2007. "Child Labor," IZA Discussion Papers 2606, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Katz, Lawrence & Goldin, Claudia, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women’s Career and Marriage Decisions," Scholarly Articles 2624453, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Gordon B. Dahl, 2005. "Early Teen Marriage and Future Poverty," NBER Working Papers 11328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink & Jocelyn Finlay, 2009. "Fertility, female labor force participation, and the demographic dividend," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 79-101, June.
  16. Filmer, Deon & Schady, Norbert, 2011. "Does more cash in conditional cash transfer programs always lead to larger impacts on school attendance?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 150-157, September.
  17. Miriam Bruhn & David McKenzie, 2009. "In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 200-232, October.
  18. Jesse Cunha, 2010. "Testing Paternalism: Cash vs. In-kind Transfer in Rural Mexico," Discussion Papers 09-021, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  19. Jere R. Behrman & Susan W. Parker & Petra E. Todd, 2005. "Long-Term Impacts of the Oportunidades Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Rural Youth in Mexico," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 122, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  20. Christopher B. Barrett & Michael R. Carter, 2010. "The Power and Pitfalls of Experiments in Development Economics: Some Non-random Reflections," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 515-548.
  21. Baird, Sarah & Özler, Berk, 2012. "Examining the reliability of self-reported data on school participation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 89-93.
  22. 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.
  23. Leonardo Bursztyn & Lucas C. Coffman, 2012. "The Schooling Decision: Family Preferences, Intergenerational Conflict, and Moral Hazard in the Brazilian Favelas," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(3), pages 359 - 397.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  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. Health effects of non-health programs
    by Berk Ozler in Development Impact on 2012-07-12 03:29:03
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