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Sustaining Impacts When Transfers End: Women Leaders, Aspirations, and Investment in Children

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  • Karen Macours
  • Renos Vakis

Abstract

Numerous evaluations show that conditional cash transfer programs change households’ investments in their young children, but there are many open questions about how such changes can be sustained after transfers end. This paper analyzes the role of social interactions with local female leaders for sustaining program impacts. The social interactions are identified through the randomized assignment of leaders and other beneficiaries to different cash transfer packages. Random exposure to leaders that received the largest package was found to augment short-term program impacts on households’ investments in education and nutrition, and to affect households’ attitudes towards the future during the intervention. This paper shows that the strong social multiplier effects from leaders’ treatment persisted two years after the end of the program. Households randomly exposed to female leaders with the largest package sustained higher investments in their children and reported higher expectations and aspirations for the future of their children. These results suggest that program design features that enhance ownership of a program’s objectives by local leaders may shift other beneficiaries’ norms and sustain higher levels of human capital investments.

Suggested Citation

  • Karen Macours & Renos Vakis, 2016. "Sustaining Impacts When Transfers End: Women Leaders, Aspirations, and Investment in Children," NBER Working Papers 22871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22871
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    1. Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1497-1540.
    2. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-273, April.
    3. Macours, Karen & Premand, Patrick & Vakis, Renos, 2012. "Transfers, diversification and household risk strategies : experimental evidence with lessons for climate change adaptation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6053, The World Bank.
    4. Timothy Besley, 2017. "Aspirations and the political economy of inequality," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-35.
    5. Benjamin Feigenberg & Erica Field & Rohini Pande, 2013. "The Economic Returns to Social Interaction: Experimental Evidence from Microfinance," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1459-1483.
    6. Deon Filmer & Norbert Schady, 2014. "The Medium-Term Effects of Scholarships in a Low-Income Country," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 663-694.
    7. Molina-Millan, Teresa & Barham, Tania & Macours, Karen & Maluccio, John A. & Stampini, Marco, 2016. "Long-term Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America: Review of the Evidence," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7891, Inter-American Development Bank.
    8. Karen Macours & Renos Vakis, 2014. "Changing Households' Investment Behaviour through Social Interactions with Local Leaders: Evidence from a Randomised Transfer Programme," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(576), pages 607-633, May.
    9. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2009. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1057-1094.
    10. Barham, Tania & Macours, Karen & Maluccio, John A., 2013. "More Schooling and More Learning?: Effects of a Three-Year Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Nicaragua after 10 Years," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4584, Inter-American Development Bank.
    11. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto Chong & Suzanne Duryea, 2012. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31, October.
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    16. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1409-1443, September.
    17. Orazio P. Attanasio & Camila Fernández & Emla O. A. Fitzsimons & Sally M. Grantham-McGregor & Costas Meghir & Marta Rubio-Codina, "undated". "Using the Infrastructure of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program to Deliver a Scalable Integrated Early Child Development Program in Colombia: Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 62cf429ea5b74678a945aa87b, Mathematica Policy Research.
    18. Tania Barham & Karen Macours & John A. Maluccio, 2013. "Boys' Cognitive Skill Formation and Physical Growth: Long-Term Experimental Evidence on Critical Ages for Early Childhood Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 467-471, May.
    19. Jere R. Behrman & Susan W. Parker & Petra E. Todd, 2011. "Do Conditional Cash Transfers for Schooling Generate Lasting Benefits?: A Five-Year Followup of PROGRESA/Oportunidades," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(1), pages 93-122.
    20. Timothy Besley, 2016. "Aspirations and the Political Economy of Inequality," STICERD - Public Economics Programme Discussion Papers 28, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    21. Teresa Molina-Millan & Tania Barham & Karen Macours & John A. Maluccio & Marco Stampini, 2016. "Long-term Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America: Review of the Evidence," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 96136, Inter-American Development Bank.
    22. repec:idb:brikps:publication-detail,7101.html?id=32886 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-273, April.
    24. Bruce Wydick & Paul Glewwe & Laine Rutledge, 2013. "Does International Child Sponsorship Work? A Six-Country Study of Impacts on Adult Life Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 393-436.
    25. Bernard, Tanguy & Dercon, Stefan & Orkin, Kate & Taffesse, Alemayehu, 2014. "The Future in Mind: Aspirations and Forward-Looking Behaviour in Rural Ethiopia," CEPR Discussion Papers 10224, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    26. Tania Barham & Karen Macours & John A. Maluccio, 2013. "More Schooling and More Learning?: Effects of a Three-Year Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Nicaragua after 10 Years," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 81801, Inter-American Development Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. George Niculescu, 2017. "Applications Of Behavioral Economics In University Life," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1, pages 105-110, December.
    2. Jose Cuesta & Mario Negre & Ana Revenga & Maika Schmidt, 2018. "Tackling Income Inequality: What Works and Why?," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 26(1), pages 1-48, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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