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The Schooling Decision: Family Preferences, Intergenerational Conflict, and Moral Hazard in the Brazilian Favelas

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  • Leonardo Bursztyn
  • Lucas C. Coffman

Abstract

This paper experimentally analyzes the schooling decisions of poor households in urban Brazil. We elicit parents' choices between monthly government transfers conditional on their adolescent child attending school and guaranteed, unconditional transfers of varying sizes. In the baseline treatment, an overwhelming majority of parents prefer conditional transfers to larger unconditional transfers. However, few parents prefer conditional payments if they are offered text message notifications whenever their child misses school. These findings suggest important intergenerational conflicts in these schooling decisions, a lack of parental control and observability of school attendance, and an additional rationale for conditional cash transfer programs--the monitoring they provide.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/666746
    DOI: 10.1086/666746
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