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Spillovers from Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: Bolsa Família and Crime in Urban Brazil

  • Chioda, Laura

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • de Mello, João M. P.

    ()

    (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio))

  • Soares, Rodrigo R.

    ()

    (Columbia University)

This paper investigates the impact of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs on crime. Making use of a unique dataset combining detailed school characteristics with time and geo-referenced crime information from the city of São Paulo, Brazil, we estimate the contemporaneous effect of the Bolsa Família program on crime. We address the endogeneity of CCT coverage by exploiting the 2008 expansion of the program to adolescents aged 16 and 17. We construct an instrument that combines the timing of expansion and the initial demographic composition of schools to identify plausibly exogenous variations in the number of children covered by Bolsa Família. We find a robust and significant negative impact of Bolsa Família coverage on crime. The evidence suggests that the main effect works through increased household income or changed peer group, rather than from incapacitation from time spent in school.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6371.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economics of Education Review, 2016, 54, 306-320
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6371
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