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Ex-ante evaluation of conditional cash transfer programs: the case of bolsa escola

  • Bourguignon, Francois
  • Ferreira, Francisco H. G.
  • Leite, Phillippe G.

Cash transfers targeted to poor people, but conditional on some behavior on their part, such as school attendance or regular visits to health care facilities, are being adopted in a growing number of developing countries. Even where ex-post impact evaluations have been conducted, a number of policy-relevant counterfactual questions have remained unanswered. These are questions about the potential impact of changes in program design, such as benefit levels or the choice of the means-test, on both the current welfare and the behavioral response of household members. This paper proposes a method to simulate the effects of those alternative program designs on welfare and behavior, based on microeconometrically estimated models of household behavior. In an application to Brazil's recently introduced federal Bolsa Escola program, the authors find a surprisingly strong effect of the conditionality on school attendance, but a muted impact of the transfers on the reduction of current poverty and inequality levels

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2916.

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Date of creation: 17 Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2916
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  1. 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 C158-75, March.
  2. Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
  3. Bhalotra, Sonia, 2001. "Is child work necessary?," Social Protection Discussion Papers 24660, The World Bank.
  4. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  5. Gertler, Paul & Glewwe, Paul, 1990. "The willingness to pay for education in developing countries : Evidence from rural Peru," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 251-275, August.
  6. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Evenson, Robert E, 1977. "Fertility, Schooling, and the Economic Contribution of Children in Rural India: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1065-79, July.
  7. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  8. Browning, M. & Bourguignon, F. & Chiappori, P.A. & Lechene, V., 1992. "Incomes and Outcomes: A structural Model of Intra-Household Allocation," DELTA Working Papers 92-23, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  9. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Neri, Marcelo Cortes, 2002. "A Robust Poverty Profile for Brazil Using Multiple Data Sources," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 444, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
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