Conditional Cash Transfer Program Essay

3156 Words Mar 13th, 2014 13 Pages
Chapter 22

Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: A “Magic Bullet” for Reducing Poverty?
Michelle Adato and John Hoddinott

I

n 1997, the government of Mexico introduced a conditional cash transfer (CCT) program called Programa de Educación, Salud, y Alimentación (PROGRESA) to provide assistance to about 300,000 extremely poor households. The essential premise of a CCT program is a cash transfer to households conditioned on their participation in health, nutrition, and education services. Ten years later, PROGRESA, now Oportunidades, covers more than 5 million households in all 31 Mexican states. Approximately 20 countries have adopted a pilot or full-scale CCT program, and another 20 countries have expressed interest in starting
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Some programs require women to attend regular health and nutrition training workshops. Some provide resources that improve the supply and quality of the schools and health care facilities used by beneficiaries. Through these requirements CCT programs aim to reduce current poverty while also seeking to improve human capital formation and, in so doing, help prevent the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
Impacts of CCT Programs Rigorous evaluations—often built into the programs themselves—show that many, but not all, CCT programs have been successful in improving human capital outcomes. In Mexico, PROGRESA increased enrollment in secondary school by 6 percentage points for boys and 9 percentage points for girls. For girls—who often drop out before secondary school—those making the transition to secondary school increased by 15 percentage points. Children in the program also entered school at an earlier age and repeated fewer grades. PROGRESA had relatively little impact, however, on school attendance rates, on achievement on standardized tests, or in bringing dropouts back to school. These objectives must thus be pursued through design improvements or complementary programs. CCT programs in Colombia, Mexico, and Turkey all improved secondary school enrollment but had little impact on

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