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The Effect of Conditional Transfers on School Performance and Child Labor: Evidence from an Ex-Post Impact Evaluation in Costa Rica

  • Suzanne Duryea
  • Andrew Morrison

Conditional transfer programs are becoming a common approach to influence household decisions. The evidence to date is that these programs are good at promoting certain outcomes such as school attendance, but that other outcomes such as reducing child labor are more difficult to achieve. This study examines the impact of Superémonos, a conditional transfer program in Costa Rica, which provides poor families with a subsidy for the purchase of food conditional upon children regularly attending school. Using three different empirical techniques—simple comparison of mean outcomes, regression analysis and propensity score matching—we examine the program’s impact on school attendance, performance in school and child labor. We find strong evidence that the program achieves its goal of improving school attendance and much weaker evidence regarding school performance. The program does not reduce the likelihood that youth will work. These findings are discussed in the context of the results from impact evaluations of other conditional transfer programs.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4359.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4359
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  1. World Bank, 2000. "Nicaragua : Ex-Post Impact Evaluation of the Emergency Social Investment Fund," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14956, The World Bank.
  2. Donald M. Pianto & Sergei Soares, 2004. "Use Of Survey Design For The Evaluation Of Social Programs: The Pnad And Peti," Anais do XXXII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 32th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 133, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
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