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The Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Nutrition: The South African Child Support Grant


  • Jorge M. Aguero
  • Michael R. Carter
  • Ingrid Woolard

    () (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape Town)


Cash transfer programs are used as new policies to increase nutrition and human capital of children from poor families. We evaluate South Africa's unconditional Child Support Grant (CSG) in which cash grants are made to families with no strings attached. However, in contrast to the market-generated income increases that identified low nutritional elasticities in earlier studies, the income increases generated by the South African cash transfers are almost exclusively assigned to women. Taking advantage of a slow program roll-out that created exogenous variation in the extent of CSGtreatment received by beneficiaries, we utilizes recent methods on continuous treatment to estimate the impact of these transfers on child nutrition. Large dosages of CSG treatment early in life are shown to significantly boost child's nutrition. Additionally, our calculations suggest that discounted rate of return on CSG payments is between a 160% and 230%.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge M. Aguero & Michael R. Carter & Ingrid Woolard, 2006. "The Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Nutrition: The South African Child Support Grant," SALDRU Working Papers 8, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:8

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Nutrition; cash transfers; continuous treatment estimator; South Africa.;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation


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