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Nicaragua?s Red de Protección Social: An Exemplary but Short-Lived Conditional Cash Transfer Programme

  • Charity Moore


    (IPC research associate and the Ohio State University)

This country study investigates the history and eventual conclusion of Nicaragua?s conditional cash transfer programme, the Red de Protección Social (RPS). Specific features of the programme, in both its first and second phase, are described thoroughly to provide readers with an appropriate understanding and appreciation of the details of RPS. A brief overview of the current state of social protection in Nicaragua is also included to enhance understanding of the current environment in the country. In particular, this study discusses the elements that contributed to the programme?s successes and eventual discontinuation. Although RPS achieved most of its goals, it was unable to garner enough domestic support to ensure its continuation. While the programme was known internationally for the positive effects it quickly had on children?s health and education, its purpose and performance were misunderstood at the domestic level. This lack of appreciation heightened criticisms of RPS and hindered support for the programme within its institutional base. RPS is an example of an efficient and effective conditional cash transfer programme, but it also serves as a warning to officials operating in similar contexts. RPS officials had to balance the demands of domestic and international stakeholders, meeting short-term goals while ensuring the initiative?s long-term viability. The Nicaraguan experience usefully illustrates the challenges involved in creating an exemplary programme and ensuring its long-term sustainability.

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Paper provided by International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth in its series Country Study with number 17.

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Length: 43
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by UNDP - International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth , January 2009, pages 1-43
Handle: RePEc:ipc:cstudy:17
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  1. Hernandez, Emilio & Sam, Abdoul G. & Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio & Chen, Joyce J., 2009. "Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers and Remittances on Credit Market Outcomes in Rural Nicaragua," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49319, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  2. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-73, April.
  3. Government of Nicaragua, 2001. "Nicaragua: A Strengthened Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8917, Inter-American Development Bank.
  4. Macours, Karen & Vakis, Renos, 2009. "Changing households'investments and aspirations through social interactions : evidence from a randomized transfer program," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5137, The World Bank.
  5. Seth R. Gitter & Bradford L. Barham, 2008. "Women's Power, Conditional Cash Transfers, and Schooling in Nicaragua," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(2), pages 271-290, May.
  6. Caldes, Natalia & Coady, David & Maluccio, John A., 2006. "The cost of poverty alleviation transfer programs: A comparative analysis of three programs in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 818-837, May.
  7. Maluccio, John A., 2005. "Coping with the “coffee crisis” in Central America: The Role of the Nicaraguan Red de Protección Social," FCND discussion papers 188, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Maluccio, John A. & Flores, Rafael, 2004. "Impact evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program," FCND briefs 184, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Maluccio, John A. & Flores, Rafael, 2005. "Impact evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program: the Nicaraguan Red de Protección Social," Research reports 141, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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