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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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    1. Lorenzo Guarcello & Fabrizia Mealli & Furio Rosati, 2010. "Household vulnerability and child labor: the effect of shocks, credit rationing, and insurance," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 169-198, January.
    2. Kevin Lang & Jay L. Zagorsky, 2001. "Does Growing up with a Parent Absent Really Hurt?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 253-273.
    3. 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.
    4. Beegle Kathleen & Joachim De Weerdt & Stefan Dercon, 2007. "Orphanhood and the long-run impact on children," CSAE Working Paper Series 2007-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    5. Edmonds, Eric V., 2006. "Child labor and schooling responses to anticipated income in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 386-414, December.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Flore Gubert & Anne-Sophie Robilliard, 2006. "Risk and Schooling Decisions in Rural Madagascar: a Panel Data Analysis," Working Papers DT/2006/08, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    9. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Vakis, Renos, 2006. "Can conditional cash transfer programs serve as safety nets in keeping children at school and from working when exposed to shocks?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 349-373, April.
    10. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
    11. Dammert, Ana C., 2007. "Child Labor and Schooling Response to Changes in Coca Production in Rural Peru," IZA Discussion Papers 2869, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Duryea, Suzanne & Lam, David & Levison, Deborah, 2007. "Effects of economic shocks on children's employment and schooling in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 188-214, September.
    13. Giannelli, Gianna Claudia & Mangiavacchi, Lucia, 2010. "Children's Schooling and Parental Migration: Empirical Evidence on the "Left Behind" Generation in Albania," IZA Discussion Papers 4888, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Evans, David & Miguel, Edward A., 2005. "Orphans and Schooling in Africa: A Longitudinal Analysis," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt14w3s2fh, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    15. Gustavo J. Bobonis, 2011. "The Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Marriage and Divorce," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 281 - 312.
    16. 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.
    17. Jacoby, Hanan G & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 311-35, July.
    18. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
    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.
    20. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
    21. Antman, Francisca M., 2012. "The Impact of Migration on Family Left Behind," IZA Discussion Papers 6374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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