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Can conditional cash transfers compensate for a father's absence ?

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  • Fitzsimons, Emla
  • Mesnard, Alice
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates how the permanent departure of the father from a household affects children's school enrollment and work participation in rural Colombia. The results indicate that the permanent departure of the father decreases children's school enrollment by approximately 5 percentage points and increases child labor by 3 percentage points. This paper explores the rollout of a conditional-cash-transfer program during the period of study and shows that this program counteracts these adverse effects. When coupled with other evidence, this finding strongly suggests that the channel through which the father's departure most affects children is by reducing the income of very poor households, which tightens their liquidity constraints. This finding also highlights the important safety-net role played by welfare programs with respect to disadvantaged households, particularly because these households are unlikely to have formal or informal mechanisms with which to insure themselves against such vagaries.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6476.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jun 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6476

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    Keywords: Labor Policies; Street Children; Primary Education; Youth and Governance; Population Policies;

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    1. 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.
    2. Stefan Dercon & Kathleen Beegle, 2007. "Orphanhood and the long-run impact on children," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2007-08, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Parker, 2006. "Job loss and family adjustments in work and schooling during the Mexican peso crisis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 163-181, February.
    4. Gianna Claudia Giannelli & Lucia Mangiavacchi, 2010. "Children's Schooling and Parental Migration: Empirical Evidence on the ‘Left‐behind’ Generation in Albania," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(s1), pages 76-92, December.
    5. David Evans & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Orphans and schooling in africa: a longitudinal analysis," Demography, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 35-57, February.
    6. Kevin Lang & Jay L. Zagorsky, 2001. "Does Growing up with a Parent Absent Really Hurt?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 253-273.
    7. Edmonds, Eric V., 2006. "Child labor and schooling responses to anticipated income in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 386-414, December.
    8. Orazio Attanasio & Emla Fitzsimons & Ana Gomez & Diana Lopez & Costas Meghir & Alice Mesnard, 2006. "Child education and work choices in the presence of a conditional cash transfer programme in rural Colombia," IFS Working Papers W06/01, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    9. L.Guarcello & F.Mealli & F.Rosati, 2002. "Household Vulnerability and Child Labour: the Effect of Shocks, Credit Rationing and Insurance," UCW Working Paper 3, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
    10. Gustavo J Bobonis, 2009. "The Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Marriage and Divorce," Working Papers tecipa-359, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    11. Robilliard, Anne-Sophie & Gubert, Flore, 2008. "Risk and Schooling Decisions in Rural Madagascar: a Panel Data Analysis," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4372, Paris Dauphine University.
    12. Jacoby, Hanan G & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 311-35, July.
    13. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C158-75, March.
    14. Kathleen Beegle & Joachim Weerdt & Stefan Dercon, 2010. "Orphanhood and human capital destruction: Is there persistence into adulthood?," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 163-180, February.
    15. 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, October.
    16. Bell, Clive & Bruhns, Ramona & Gersbach, Hans, 2006. "Economic growth, education, and AIDS in Kenya : a long-run analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4025, The World Bank.
    17. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
    18. Dammert, Ana C., 2008. "Child labor and schooling response to changes in coca production in rural Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 164-180, April.
    19. Antman, Francisca M., 2012. "The Impact of Migration on Family Left Behind," IZA Discussion Papers 6374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
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