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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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    14. 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.
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    19. 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.
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    21. 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.
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    1. Fortnightly links: inequality, Nicaragua, coconuts, Radi-Aid awards, Syria, and more
      by Camilla Burkot and Terence Wood in Development Policy Blog on 2016-12-16 00:00:55

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Garcia, Adriana & Lensink, Robert & Voors, Maarten, 2020. "Does microcredit increase aspirational hope? Evidence from a group lending scheme in Sierra Leone," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    3. Sánchez Chico, Ana & Macours, Karen & Maluccio, John A. & Stampini, Marco, 2018. "Six Years of Comunidades Solidarias Rurales: Impacts on School Entry of an Ongoing Conditional Cash Transfer Program in El Salvador," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8948, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. 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.

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    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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