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Can conditional cash transfers compensate for a father's absence ?

  • Fitzsimons, Emla
  • Mesnard, Alice
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    This paper investigates how the permanent departure of the father from a household affects children's school enrollment and work participation in rural Colombia. The results indicate that the permanent departure of the father decreases children's school enrollment by approximately 5 percentage points and increases child labor by 3 percentage points. This paper explores the rollout of a conditional-cash-transfer program during the period of study and shows that this program counteracts these adverse effects. When coupled with other evidence, this finding strongly suggests that the channel through which the father's departure most affects children is by reducing the income of very poor households, which tightens their liquidity constraints. This finding also highlights the important safety-net role played by welfare programs with respect to disadvantaged households, particularly because these households are unlikely to have formal or informal mechanisms with which to insure themselves against such vagaries.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6476.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jun 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6476
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    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, December.
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    11. Kathleen Beegle & Joachim Weerdt & Stefan Dercon, 2010. "Orphanhood and human capital destruction: Is there persistence into adulthood?," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 163-180, February.
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    13. 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.
    14. Robilliard, Anne-Sophie & Gubert, Flore, 2008. "Risk and Schooling Decisions in Rural Madagascar: a Panel Data Analysis," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4372, Paris Dauphine University.
    15. Gianna Claudia Giannelli & Lucia Mangiavacchi, 2010. "Children's Schooling and Parental Migration: Empirical Evidence on the ‘Left‐behind’ Generation in Albania," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(s1), pages 76-92, December.
    16. David Evans & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Orphans and schooling in africa: a longitudinal analysis," Demography, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 35-57, February.
    17. Bell, Clive & Bruhns, Ramona & Gersbach, Hans, 2006. "Economic growth, education, and AIDS in Kenya : a long-run analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4025, The World Bank.
    18. Dammert, Ana C., 2008. "Child labor and schooling response to changes in coca production in rural Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 164-180, April.
    19. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Parker, 2006. "Job loss and family adjustments in work and schooling during the Mexican peso crisis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 163-181, February.
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