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Assessing the long-term effects of conditional cash transfers on human capital : evidence from Colombia

  • Baez, Javier E.
  • Camacho, Adriana

Conditional cash transfers are programs under which poor families get a stipend provided they keep their children in school and take them for health checks. Although there is significant evidence showing that they have positive impacts on school participation, little is known about the long-term impacts of the programs on human capital. This paper investigates whether cohorts of children from poor households that benefited up to nine years from Familias en Acción, a conditional cash transfer program in Colombia, attained more school and performed better on academic tests at the end of high school. Identification of program impacts is derived from two different strategies using matching techniques with household surveys, and regression discontinuity design using a census of the poor and administrative records of the program. The authors show that, on average, participant children are 4 to 8 percentage points more likely than nonparticipant children to finish high school, particularly girls and beneficiaries in rural areas. Regarding long-term impact on tests scores, the analysis shows that program recipients who graduate from high school seem to perform at the same level as equally poor non-recipient graduates, even after correcting for possible selection bias when low-performing students enter school in the treatment group. Although the positive impacts on high school graduation may improve the employment and earning prospects of participants, the lack of positive effects on test scores raises the need to further explore policy actions to couple the program's objective of increasing human capital with enhanced learning.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5681.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5681
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  1. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Long-Term Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," NBER Working Papers 10713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M. & Imbens, Guido, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Scholarly Articles 3043416, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Filmer, Deon & Schady, Norbert, 2009. "Own and sibling effects of conditional cash transfer programs : theory and evidence from Cambodia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5001, The World Bank.
  4. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  5. Barrera-Osorio, Felipe & Bertrand, Marianne & L. Linden, Leigh & Perez-Calle, Francisco, 2008. "Conditional cash transfers in education : design features, peer and sibling effects evidence from a randomized experiment in Colombia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4580, The World Bank.
  6. Andrés Felipe García-Suaza & Juan Carlos Guataquí & José Alberto Guerra & Darío Maldonado, 2014. "Beyond the Mincer equation: the internal rate of return to higher education in Colombia," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 328-344, June.
  7. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2009. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," NBER Working Papers 14726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. repec:oup:restud:v:79:y::i:3:p:933-959 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Hotz, V. Joseph & Crump, Richard K. & Mitnik, Oscar A. & Imbens, Guido, 2009. "Dealing with Limited Overlap in Estimation of Average Treatment Effects," Scholarly Articles 3007645, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. 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, September.
  11. Luis Fernando Gamboa & Nohora Forero Ramírez, 2008. "Fertility and schooling: how this relation changed between 1995 and 2005 in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 004711, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  12. Behrman, Jere R & Sengupta, Piyali & Todd, Petra, 2005. "Progressing through PROGRESA: An Impact Assessment of a School Subsidy Experiment in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 237-75, October.
  13. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
  14. Orazio Attanasio & Emla Fitzsimons & Ana Gomez & Martha Isabel Gutiérrez & Costas Meghir & Alice Mesnard, 2006. "Child education and work choices in the presence of a conditional cash transfer programme in rural Colombia," IFS Working Papers W06/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Heinrich, Carolyn J., 2007. "Demand and Supply-Side Determinants of Conditional Cash Transfer Program Effectiveness," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 121-143, January.
  17. Filmer, Deon & Schady, Norbert, 2009. "School enrollment, selection and test scores," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4998, The World Bank.
  18. Attanasio, Orazio & Battistin, Erich & Mesnard, Alice, 2009. "Food and Cash Transfers: Evidence from Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 7326, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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