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The Impact of the Bolsa Escola/Familia Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Enrollment, Drop Out Rates and Grade Promotion in Brazil

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  • Paul Glewwe
  • Ana Lucia Kassouf

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of Brazil's Bolsa Escola (later renamed Bolsa Familia) program on children's progress in school in Brazil. The Bolsa program, which started in the 1990s and expanded rapidly in 2001 and 2002, provides monthly cash payments to poor households if their children (between the ages of 6 and 15) are enrolled in school. Using eight years of school census data (from 1998 to 2005), our estimation method compares changes in enrollment and in dropout and grade advancement rates across schools that adopted the Bolsa program at different times. We estimate that, after accounting for cumulative effects, the Bolsa program has increased enrollment in Brazil by about 5.5 percent in grades 1-4 and by about 6.5 percent in grades 5-8. We also estimate that the program has lowered dropout rates by about 0.5 percentage points and raised grade promotion rates by about 0.9 percentage points for children in grades 1-4, and has reduced dropout rates by about 0.4 percentage points and increased grade promotion rates by about 0.3 percentage points for children in grades 5-8. Only about one third of Brazil’s children participate in the Bolsa program, so the assumption that these results are mainly due to the impact of the program on participants, with no effect on non-participants, implies that the impact of participating in the Bolsa program is about three times higher than these estimates. While these impacts cast a favorable light on the program, simple calculations based on the enrollment impacts suggest that the likely benefits in terms of increased wages may not exceed the costs of the program.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Glewwe & Ana Lucia Kassouf, 2008. "The Impact of the Bolsa Escola/Familia Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Enrollment, Drop Out Rates and Grade Promotion in Brazil," Working Papers 08_16, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.
  • Handle: RePEc:fea:wpaper:08_16
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Leighton, Margaret & Souza, Priscila & Straub, Stéphane, 2016. "Social Promotion in Primary School: Immediate and Cumulated Effects on Attainment," TSE Working Papers 16-649, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    2. Cruz, Marcio & Ziegelhofer, Zacharias, 2014. "Beyond the income effect : impacts of conditional cash transfer programs on private investments in human capital," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6867, The World Bank.
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:103:y:2018:i:c:p:100-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. de Brauw, Alan & Gilligan, Daniel O. & Hoddinott, John & Roy, Shalini, 2015. "The Impact of Bolsa Família on Schooling," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 303-316.
    5. Rafael P. Ribas, 2014. "Liquidity Constraints, Informal Financing, and Entrepreneurship: Direct and Indirect Effects of a Cash Transfer Programme," Working Papers 131, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    6. Andrea Sales S. De A. Melo, 2018. "The ?Bolsa-Família? Program And The Food Insecurity In Brazilian Household Between 2009 And 2013," Anais do XLIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 44th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 72, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    7. Chioda, Laura & De Mello, João M.P. & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2016. "Spillovers from conditional cash transfer programs: Bolsa Família and crime in urban Brazil," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 306-320.
    8. Murat G. Kirdar & Meltem Dayioglu & Ismet Koç, 2013. "Does Longer Compulsory Education Equalize Educational Attainment? Evidence From A Major Policy Reform," Working Papers 777, Economic Research Forum, revised Oct 2013.
    9. Dietrich, Stephan & Malerba, Daniele & Barrientos, Armando & Gassmann, Franziska & Mohnen, Pierre & Tirivayi, Nyasha & Kavuma, Susan & Matovu, Fred, 2017. "Social protection investments, human capital, and income growth: Simulating the returns to social cash transfers in Uganda," MERIT Working Papers 029, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    10. Akresh, Richard & de Walque, Damien & Kazianga, Harounan, 2013. "Cash transfers and child schooling : evidence from a randomized evaluation of the role of conditionality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6340, The World Bank.
    11. Bergolo, Marcelo & Galván, Estefanía, 2018. "Intra-household Behavioral Responses to Cash Transfer Programs. Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 100-118.
    12. Ferrario, Marcela Nogueira, 2014. "The impacts on family consumption of the Bolsa Família subsidy programme," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), April.
    13. Barrientos, Armando & Debowicz, Darío & Woolard, Ingrid, 2016. "Heterogeneity in Bolsa Família outcomes," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 33-40.
    14. Dietrich, Stephan & Malerba, Daniele & Barrientos, Armando & Gassmann, Franziska, 2017. "Rates of return to antipoverty transfers in Uganda," MERIT Working Papers 040, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    15. Kate Ambler & Diego Aycinena & Dean Yang, 2015. "Channeling Remittances to Education: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 207-232, April.
    16. Armando Barrientos & Dario Debowicz & Ingrid Woolard, 2014. "Antipoverty Transfers and Inclusive Growth in Brazil," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series iriba_wp04, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    17. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:63-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Joshi, Shareen & Sivaram, Anusuya, 2014. "Does it Pay to Deliver? An Evaluation of India’s Safe Motherhood Program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 434-447.
    19. repec:eee:injoed:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:71-79 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Morais de Sa e Silva, Michelle, 2015. "Conditional cash transfers and improved education quality: A political search for the policy link," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 169-181.
    21. Deininger,Klaus W. & Nagarajan,Hari Krishnan & Singh,Sudhir K. & Deininger,Klaus W. & Nagarajan,Hari Krishnan & Singh,Sudhir K., 2016. "Short-term effects of India's employment guarantee program on labor markets and agricultural productivity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7665, The World Bank.
    22. repec:pal:eurjdr:v:29:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s41287-016-0012-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Kirdar, Murat G. & Dayioglu, Meltem & Koc, Ismet, 2012. "Does longer compulsory education equalize educational attainment by gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background?," MPRA Paper 39995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Chitolina, Lia & Foguel, Miguel Nathan & Menezes-Filho, Naercio Aquino, 2016. "The impact of the expansion of the bolsa familia program on the time allocation of youths and their parents," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 70(2), July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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