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Conditional Cash Transfer Programs for Child Human Capital Development: Lessons Derived from Experience in Mexico and Brazil


Paper (824 kb PDF)

Presentation (755 kb PDF)

Sponsors: Thematic Group on Poverty Impact Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation. 

Tuesday, November 22
12.30 - 2 pm
Room H1-200

Presenter: Alain de Janvry and Elisabeth Sadoulet (University of California at Berkeley and DECRG)
In this seminar Alain de Janvry and Elizabeth Sadoulet will present their paper titled: "Conditional Cash Transfer Programs for Child Human Capital Development: Lessons Derived from Experience in Mexico and Brazil." This paper addresses three questions commonly raised about conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs for child human capital development:

  1. When to use the CCT approach?
  2. How to increase the efficiency of the approach?
  3. How to learn more from implementation of the approach to improve its use in alternative contexts? 

The authors use lessons derived from the Oportunidades experience in Mexico and the Bolsa Escola program in Brazil to propose answers to these questions. Answers suggest that the approach is highly efficient in inducing a change in behavior among parents toward child human capital development when the objective is not extreme poverty reduction. They also show that considerable efficiency gains can be achieved through better targeting and calibration of transfers toward children at risk of not going to school without a CCT, better understanding of heterogeneity of responses to design complementary supply-side interventions in particular according to parents’ educational levels and distance to school, use of the approach as a safety net to reduce vulnerability of child human capital to shocks, and introduction of more effective social accountability mechanisms between providers and stakeholders.  There exists, however, a huge deficit in learning from past experiences and in experimenting with alternative ways of implementing CCT programs while the approach is being extended to new country contexts quite different from the ones where experience has been derived.

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