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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Veronica Amarante & Mery Ferrando & Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "School Attendance, Child Labor and Cash Transfers. An Impact Evaluation of PANES," Working Papers PIERI 2011-22, PEP-PIERI.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:piercr:2011-22

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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).
    5. 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. 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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    12. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
    13. Verónica Amarante & Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2016. "Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Program, and Social Security Data," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 1-43, May.
    14. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 158-175, March.
    15. Bucheli, Marisa & Casacuberta, Carlos, 2000. "Asistencia escolar y participación en el mercado de trabajo de los adolecentes en Uruguay," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(267), pages 395-420, julio-sep.
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    Blog mentions

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    1. School Attendance, Child Labor and Cash Transfers. An Impact Evaluation of PANES
      by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-01-06 02:24:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Jacobus de Hoop & Furio C. Rosati, 2014. "Cash Transfers and Child Labor," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 29(2), pages 202-234.
    2. Bergolo, Marcelo & Cruces, Guillermo, 2016. "The Anatomy of Behavioral Responses to Social Assistance When Informal Employment Is High," IZA Discussion Papers 10197, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Verónica Amarante & Andrea Vigorito, 2012. "La Expansión de las Transferencias no Contributivas en Uruguay en los Últimos Años," Policy Research Brief 29, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    4. Jiménez, Maribel. & Jiménez, Mónica., 2015. "Asistencia escolar y participación laboral de los adolescentes en Argentina : el impacto de la Asignación Universal por Hijo," ILO Working Papers 994889043402676, International Labour Organization.
    5. Independent Evaluation Group, 2014. "Social Safety Nets and Gender : Learning from Impact Evaluations and World Bank Projects," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 21365.
    6. Maribel Jiménez & Mónica Jiménez, 2016. "Efectos del programa Asignación Universal por Hijo en la deserción escolar adolescente," REVISTA CUADERNOS DE ECONOMÍA, UN - RCE - CID, vol. 35(69), pages 709-752, April.
    7. Verónica Amarante & Maira Colacce & Victoria Tenenbaum, 2017. "National Care System in Uruguay: Who benefits and who pays?," WIDER Working Paper Series 002, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Verónica Amarante & Andrea Vigorito, 2012. "The Expansion of Non-Contributory Transfers in Uruguay in Recent Years," Policy Research Brief 29, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.

    More about this item


    Cash transfer program; Impact evaluation; School attendance; Child labour; Uruguay;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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