World Bank policy research paper: differential impact of conditional and unconditional cash transfers on marginal children

Another World Bank study, Cash Transfers and Child Schooling: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation of the Role of Conditionality,

empirically tested the hypothesis that CCTs (Conditional Cash Transfers) are more effective than UCTs (Unconditional Cash Transfers) in improving the enrollment of “marginal children”, that is, those who are initially not enrolled in school or are less likely to go to school, such as girls, younger children, and lower ability children.

The two year alternative cash transfer delivery mechanisms on education in rural Burkina Faso randomly distributed cash transfers that were either conditional or unconditional. Families under the conditional schemes were required to have their children ages 7 to 15 enrolled in school and attend classes regularly. There were no such requirements under the unconditional programs.

Results of the study indicate that unconditional and conditional cash transfer programs have a similar impact in increasing the enrollment of children who are traditionally favored by parents for school participation, including boys, older children, and higher ability children. However, the conditional transfers are significantly more effective than the unconditional transfers in improving the enrollment of “marginal children” who are initially less likely to go to school, such as girls, younger children, and lower ability children. The study concludes that conditionality plays a critical role in benefiting children who are less likely to receive investments from their parents.

Reflecting on this, it will be interesting to know the case in the Philippines, which is a CCT and controversial among locals for having excluded to some extent marginal children (i.e. the bottom poor) due to its selection and registration procedures.

Read the full report here.

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