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Are Conditional Cash Transfers Effective in Urban Areas? Evidence from Mexico


  • Jere R. Behrman

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Jorge Gallardo-Garcia

    () (Bates White Consulting, Wash DC)

  • Susan W. Parker

    () (División de Economía, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas – CIDE)

  • Petra E. Todd

    () (Department of Economics. University of Pennsylvania)

  • Viviana Velez-Grajales

    () (Inter-American Development Bank, IDB Headquarters, Wash DC)


Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs have spread worldwide as a new form of social assistance for the poor. Previous evaluations of CCT programs focus mainly on rural settings, and little is known about their effects in urban areas. This paper studies the short-term (one and two-year) effects of the Mexican Oportunidades CCT program on urban children/youth. The program provides financial incentives for children/youth to attend school and for family members to visit health clinics. To participate, families had to sign up for the program and be deemed eligible. Difference-in-difference propensity score matching estimates indicate that the program is successful in increasing school enrollment, schooling attainment and time devoted to homework and in decreasing working rates of boys.

Suggested Citation

  • Jere R. Behrman & Jorge Gallardo-Garcia & Susan W. Parker & Petra E. Todd & Viviana Velez-Grajales, 2011. "Are Conditional Cash Transfers Effective in Urban Areas? Evidence from Mexico," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-024, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:11-024

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    1. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
    2. Elizabeth M. King & Jere R. Behrman, 2009. "Timing and Duration of Exposure in Evaluations of Social Programs," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 55-82, February.
    3. Angelucci, Manuela & De Giorgi, Giacomo & Rangel, Marcos A. & Rasul, Imran, 2010. "Family networks and school enrolment: Evidence from a randomized social experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 197-221, April.
    4. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Frederico Finan, 2009. "Neighborhood Peer Effects in Secondary School Enrollment Decisions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 695-716, November.
    5. Manuela Angelucci & Giacomo De Giorgi, 2009. "Indirect Effects of an Aid Program: How Do Cash Transfers Affect Ineligibles' Consumption?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 486-508, March.
    6. 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.
    7. Parker, Susan W. & Rubalcava, Luis & Teruel, Graciela, 2008. "Evaluating Conditional Schooling and Health Programs," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    8. Samia Amin & Jishnu Das & Markus Goldstein, 2008. "Are You Being Served? New Tools for Measuring Services Delivery," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6921.
    9. Manuela Angelucci & Orazio Attanasio, 2009. "Oportunidades: Program Effect on Consumption, Low Participation, and Methodological Issues," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(3), pages 479-506, April.
    10. 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.
    11. Jere R. Behrman & Susan W. Parker & Petra E. Todd, 2009. "Schooling Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfers on Young Children: Evidence from Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(3), pages 439-477, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guido Neidhöfer & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, 2017. "The long(er)-term impacts of Chile Solidario on human capital and labour income," WIDER Working Paper Series 201, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Oswald, Yvonne & Backes-Gellner, Uschi, 2014. "Learning for a bonus: How financial incentives interact with preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 52-61.
    3. 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.
    4. Rafael P. Ribas, 2014. "Liquidity Constraints, Informal Financing, and Entrepreneurship: Direct and Indirect Effects of a Cash Transfer Programme," Working Papers 131, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    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. Gentilini,Ugo, 2015. "Entering the city : emerging evidence and practices with safety nets in urban areas," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 98253, The World Bank.
    7. Pettersson, Jan & Wikström, Johan, 2013. "Peeing out of poverty? Human fertilizer and the productivity of farming households," Working Paper Series 2013:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    8. Armando Barrientos & Jasmina Byrne & Juan Miguel Villa & Paola Peña, 2013. "Social Transfers and Child Protection," Papers inwopa691, Innocenti Working Papers.

    More about this item


    conditional cash transfer programs; matching estimators; program evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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