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The Impact of a Cash Transfer Program on Cognitive Achievement: The Bono de Desarrollo Humano of Ecuador

  • Ponce, Juan

    ()

    (Flacso)

  • Bedi, Arjun S.

    ()

    (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Throughout Latin America, conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs play an important role in social policy. These programs aim to influence the accumulation of human capital, as well as reduce poverty. In terms of educational outcomes, a number of impact evaluation studies have shown that such programs have led to an increase in school enrollment, ensured regular school attendance and led to a reduction in child labor. Theoretically, such cash transfer programs may also be expected to exert a positive impact on students’ test scores, but related empirical evidence is scarce. Accordingly, this paper evaluates the impact of a cash transfer program, the Bono de Desarrollo Humano of Ecuador, on students’ cognitive achievements. The paper uses a regression discontinuity strategy to identify the impact of the program on second grade cognitive achievement. Regardless of the specification and the sample used, we find that there is no impact of the program on test scores, suggesting that attempts at building human capital, as measured by cognitive achievement, require additional and alternative interventions.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3658.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economics of Education Review, 2010, 29 (1), 116-125
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3658
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  1. 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," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 43338, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Maluccio, John A. & Flores, Rafael, 2004. "Impact evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program," FCND discussion papers 184, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. John Maluccio & Natàlia Caldés & David Coady, 2005. "The Cost of Poverty Alleviation Transfer Programs: A Comparative Analysis of Three Programs in Latin America," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0527, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  4. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren, 2002. "The Impact of Teacher Training on Student Achievement: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from School Reform Efforts in Chicago," NBER Working Papers 8916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  6. Behrman, J.R. & Ross, D. & Sabot, R. & Alderman, H., 1995. "The Returns to endogenous Human Capital in Pakistan's Rural Wage Labour Market," Center for Development Economics 141, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  7. Bedi, Arjun S. & Marshall, Jeffery H., 2002. "Primary school attendance in Honduras," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 129-153, October.
  8. Hessel Oosterbeek & Juan Ponce & Norbert Schady, 2008. "The Impact of Cash Transfers on School Enrollment: Evidence from Ecuador," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-037/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Frank Levy, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 5076, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bedi, Arjun S & Marshall, Jeffrey H, 1999. "School Attendance and Student Achievement: Evidence from Rural Honduras," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(3), pages 657-82, April.
  11. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  12. 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.
  13. Rose, Heather, 2006. "Do gains in test scores explain labor market outcomes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 430-446, August.
  14. Bedard, Kelly & Ferrall, Christopher, 2003. "Wage and test score dispersion: some international evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 31-43, February.
  15. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
  16. 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.
  17. Schady, Norbert & Araujo, Maria Caridad, 2006. "Cash transfers, conditions, school enrollment, and child work : evidence from a randomized experiment in Ecuador," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3930, The World Bank.
  18. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
  19. Mauricio Leon & Stephen Younger, 2007. "Transfer payments, mothers' income and child health in ecuador," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(6), pages 1126-1143.
  20. Jinyong Hahn & Petra Todd & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 1999. "Evaluating the Effect of an Antidiscrimination Law Using a Regression-Discontinuity Design," NBER Working Papers 7131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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