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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:piercr:2011-22
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  1. 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, September.
  2. de Brauw, Alan & Hoddinott, John, 2011. "Must conditional cash transfer programs be conditioned to be effective? The impact of conditioning transfers on school enrollment in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 359-370, November.
  3. Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "Government Transfers and Political Support," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 1-28, July.
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  6. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Parker, Susan W., 2001. "Conditional cash transfers and their impact on child work and schooling," FCND briefs 123, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. P. Deb & F. Rosati, 2002. "Determinants of Child Labour and School Attendance: The Role of Household Unobservables," UCW Working Paper 9, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
  8. 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.
  9. Cardoso, Ana Rute & Verner, Dorte, 2006. "School Drop-Out and Push-Out Factors in Brazil: The Role of Early Parenthood, Child Labor, and Poverty," IZA Discussion Papers 2515, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. 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.
  11. Furio C. Rosati & Mariacristina Rossi, 2003. "Children's Working Hours and School Enrollment: Evidence from Pakistan and Nicaragua," CEIS Research Paper 25, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  15. 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.
  16. 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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