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Assessing the Long-term Effects of Conditional Cash Transfers on Human Capital: Evidence from Colombia

  • Javier E. Báez


  • Adriana Camacho

Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) are programs under which poor families get a stipend provided they keep their children in school and take them for health checks. While there is significant evidence showing that they have positive impacts on school participation, little is known about their long-term impacts on human capital. In this paper we investigate whether cohorts of children from households that benefited up to nine years from Familias en Acción, a CCT in Colombia, attained more school and performed better in academic tests at the end of high school. Identification of programimpacts is derived from two different strategies using matching techniques with household surveys, and regression discontinuity design using census of the poor and administrative records of the program. We show that, on average, participant children are 4 to 8 percentage points more likely than nonparticipant children to finish high school, particularly girls and beneficiaries in rural areas. Regarding long-term impact on tests scores, the analysis shows that program recipients who graduate from high school seem to perform at the same level as equally poor non-recipient graduates, even after correcting for possible selection bias when low-performing students enter school in the treatment group. Even though the positive impacts on high school graduation may improve the employment and earning prospects of participants, the lack of positive effects on the test scores raises the need to further explore policy actions to couple CCT´s objective of increasing human capital with enhanced learning.

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Paper provided by UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE in its series DOCUMENTOS CEDE with number 008900.

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Length: 54
Date of creation: 17 May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:col:000089:008900
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  1. Andrés Felipe García-Suaza & Juan Carlos Guataquí & José Alberto Guerra & Darío Maldonado, 2014. "Beyond the Mincer equation: the internal rate of return to higher education in Colombia," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 328-344, June.
  2. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Alice Mesnard, 2012. "Food and Cash Transfers: Evidence from Colombia," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(559), pages 92-124, 03.
  3. 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.
  4. Eric Bettinger & Joshua Angrist & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Long-term consequences of secondary school vouchers: Evidence from administrative records in colombia," Natural Field Experiments 00204, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  6. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2009. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," NBER Working Papers 14726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Luis Fernando Gamboa & Nohora Forero Ramírez, 2008. "Fertility and schooling: how this relation changed between 1995 and 2005 in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 004711, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  8. 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.
  9. 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, September.
  10. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
  11. Hotz, V. Joseph & Crump, Richard K. & Mitnik, Oscar A. & Imbens, Guido, 2009. "Dealing with Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects," Scholarly Articles 3007645, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Guido Imbens & Jeffrey Wooldridge, 2008. "Recent developments in the econometrics of program evaluation," CeMMAP working papers CWP24/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Bertrand, Marianne & L. Linden, Leigh & Perez-Calle, Francisco, 2008. "Conditional cash transfers in education : design features, peer and sibling effects evidence from a randomized experiment in Colombia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4580, The World Bank.
  14. Filmer, Deon & Schady, Norbert, 2009. "School enrollment, selection and test scores," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4998, The World Bank.
  15. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. repec:oup:restud:v:79:y::i:3:p:933-959 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Filmer, Deon & Schady, Norbert, 2009. "Own and sibling effects of conditional cash transfer programs : theory and evidence from Cambodia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5001, The World Bank.
  18. Heinrich, Carolyn J., 2007. "Demand and Supply-Side Determinants of Conditional Cash Transfer Program Effectiveness," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 121-143, January.
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