Sponsors: Thematic Group on Poverty Impact Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation and the Caribbean Managing Unit
Presenter: Dan Levy and Jim Ohls, Mathematica Policy Research
This presentation reports on the findings of an evaluation of a social safety net initiative, the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), which was undertaken by the Government of Jamaica, beginning in 2001. The main objectives of the initiative, which is operated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), are to achieve better targeting of social assistance benefits to the poor and to increase human capital by conditioning receipt of the benefits on participants meeting certain requirements for school attendance and health care visits.
The presentation will focus on the findings related to the impacts of PATH on key education and health outcomes. The main findings are as follow: PATH has been effective at accomplishing its objective of encouraging households to send their children to school with greater regularity. PATH is estimated to have increased school attendance by approximately 0.5 days per month. The estimated increase is about three percent over the baseline level, and it is statistically significant. PATH was also successful in meeting its objective of increasing the use of preventive health care for children in PATH families. The results of the statistical analysis suggest that health care visits for children 0-6 increased by approximately 38 percent as a result of PATH. As with educational outcomes, the magnitude of this effect appears to be broadly consistent with the corresponding effects in other countries which have enacted conditional cash transfer programs. While PATH was successful at increasing school attendance and preventive health visits, there is no evidence that it was able to affect longer term outcomes such as grades, advancement to next grade or health care status.
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