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School Attendance, Child Labor and Cash Transfers. An Impact Evaluation of PANES

  • Veronica Amarante
  • Mery Ferrando
  • Andrea Vigorito

In this paper we analyze the impact an emergency social assistance program, PANES, on school attendance and child labour. The program was carried out in Uruguay from April 2005 to December 2007. Specifically, we analyze the effects of the cash transfer component of the plan (Ingreso Ciudadano), and explore potential explanatory channels such as labour market outcomes, income and awareness of conditionalities. This research is based on a panel of successful and unsuccessful applicants to PANES. The first wave uses the administrative records of the program and the second wave is a follow-up survey that was gathered two months after the program ended and was specifically designed to carry out the impact evaluation of the program. In order to check the robustness of our results, we provide evidence based on two different identification strategies: a regression discontinuity approach using data from the second wave of the panel, and a difference-in-difference approach that exploits the longitudinal nature of the collected data. Our results indicate that the program did not affect school attendance or child labour, whether children are considered as one group or are disaggregated by age or sex. We also do not find any impact on household income, which suggests that income substitution does not explain the lack of results in terms of schooling. It therefore appears that either the size of the transfer was not generous enough to promote school attendance or that the determinants of child school attendance are more complex and require complementary interventions. Our results are particularly relevant for understanding of the role of cash transfers in middle-income countries where attendance rates at primary school are already high, and where the main challenge is to keep students in school at the secondary level. The data also allows us to explore the role of conditionalities. Only a small share of households was aware of the school enrolment condition (20%). Conditionalities were announced and are present in other social security programs in Uruguay, but were ultimately not monitored in this case. We did not find the conditionality to have any robust impact (as perceived by the household) on children’s school enrolment.

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Paper provided by PEP-PIERI in its series Working Papers PIERI with number 2011-22.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:piercr:2011-22
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  1. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
  2. Furio Camillo Rosati & Mariacristina Rossi, 2003. "Children's Working Hours and School Enrollment: Evidence from Pakistan and Nicaragua," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 283-295, December.
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  4. de Brauw, Alan & Hoddinott, John, 2008. "Must conditional cash transfer programs be conditioned to be effective?: The impact of conditioning transfers on school enrollment in Mexico," IFPRI discussion papers 757, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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  8. Marisa Bucheli & Carlos Casacuberta, 1999. "Asistencia escolar y participación en el mercado de trabajo de los adolescentes en Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1599, Department of Economics - dECON.
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  10. David S. Lee & David Card, 2006. "Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597, 6.
  12. 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.
  13. Guillermo Alves & Verónica Amarante & Gonzalo Salas & Andrea Vigorito, 2012. "La desigualdad del ingreso en Uruguay entre 1986 y 2009," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 12-03, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
  14. Cardoso, Ana Rute & Verner, Dorte, 2007. "School drop-out and push-out factors in Brazil : the role of early parenthood, child labor, and poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4178, The World Bank.
  15. Partha Deb & Furio Rosati, 2002. "Determinants of Child Labor and School Attendance: The Role of Household Unobservables," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 02/9, Hunter College Department of Economics.
  16. 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.
  17. David P. Coady & Susan W. Parker, 2004. "Cost-effectiveness Analysis of Demand- and Supply-side Education Interventions: the Case of PROGRESA in Mexico," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 440-451, 08.
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