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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

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  • Suzanne Duryea
  • Andrew Morrison

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Suzanne Duryea & Andrew Morrison, 2004. "The Effect of Conditional Transfers on School Performance and Child Labor: Evidence from an Ex-Post Impact Evaluation in Costa Rica," Research Department Publications 4359, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4359
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    1. 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 32nd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 133, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    2. World Bank, 2000. "Nicaragua : Ex-Post Impact Evaluation of the Emergency Social Investment Fund," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14956, The World Bank.
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    1. Ponce, Juan & Bedi, Arjun S., 2010. "The impact of a cash transfer program on cognitive achievement: The Bono de Desarrollo Humano of Ecuador," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 116-125, February.
    2. César P. Bouillon & Luis Tejerina, 2006. "Do We Know What Works?: A Systematic Review of Impact Evaluations of Social Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2801, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Edmonds, Eric V. & Shrestha, Maheshwor, 2014. "You get what you pay for: Schooling incentives and child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 196-211.
    4. Elke Schaffland, 2011. "Conditional Cash Transfers in Brazil: Treatment Evaluation of the “Bolsa Família” Program on Education," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 84, Courant Research Centre PEG, revised 11 Apr 2012.
    5. Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 2005. "The Millennium Development Goals in Latin America and the Caribbean: Progress, Priorities and IDB Support for their Implementation," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 53698, February.
    6. Andrea R. Ferro & Ana Lúcia Kassouf & Deborah Levison, 2010. "The impact of conditional cash transfer programs on household work decisions in Brazil," Research in Labor Economics,in: Child Labor and the Transition between School and Work, volume 31, pages 193-218 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    7. De Hoop,Jacobus Joost & Friedman,Jed & Kandpal,Eeshani & Rosati,Furio Camillo, 2017. "Child schooling and child work in the presence of a partial education subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8182, The World Bank.
    8. Jiménez, Maribel. & Jiménez, Mónica., 2015. "Asistencia escolar y participación laboral de los adolescentes en Argentina : el impacto de la Asignación Universal por Hijo," ILO Working Papers 994889043402676, International Labour Organization.
    9. Carla Canelas & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, 2018. "Schooling and labour market impacts of Bolivia’s Bono Juancito Pinto," WIDER Working Paper Series 036, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Reynolds, Sarah Anne, 2015. "Brazil's Bolsa Familia: Does it work for adolescents and do they work less for it?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 23-38.
    11. César P. Bouillon & Luis Tejerina, 2006. "Do We Know What Works?: A Systematic Review of Impact Evaluations of Social Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 80443, Inter-American Development Bank.
    12. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582.
    13. Paola Pena, 2014. "The Politics of the diffusion of Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 20114, GDI, The University of Manchester.

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