Assessing the Long-Term Effects of Conditional Cash Transfers on Human Capital: Evidence from Colombia

54 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Javier Eduardo Baez

Javier Eduardo Baez

World Bank; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Adriana Camacho

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 1, 2011

Abstract

Conditional cash transfers are programs under which poor families get a stipend provided they keep their children in school and take them for health checks. Although there is significant evidence showing that they have positive impacts on school participation, little is known about the long-term impacts of the programs on human capital. This paper investigates whether cohorts of children from poor households that benefited up to nine years from Familias en Acci?n, a conditional cash transfer program in Colombia, attained more school and performed better on academic tests at the end of high school. Identification of program impacts is derived from two different strategies using matching techniques with household surveys, and regression discontinuity design using a census of the poor and administrative records of the program. The authors show that, on average, participant children are 4 to 8 percentage points more likely than nonparticipant children to finish high school, particularly girls and beneficiaries in rural areas. Regarding long-term impact on tests scores, the analysis shows that program recipients who graduate from high school seem to perform at the same level as equally poor non-recipient graduates, even after correcting for possible selection bias when low-performing students enter school in the treatment group. Although the positive impacts on high school graduation may improve the employment and earning prospects of participants, the lack of positive effects on test scores raises the need to further explore policy actions to couple the program's objective of increasing human capital with enhanced learning.

Keywords: Education For All, Tertiary Education, Primary Education, Secondary Education, Teaching and Learning

Suggested Citation

Baez, Javier Eduardo and Camacho, Adriana, Assessing the Long-Term Effects of Conditional Cash Transfers on Human Capital: Evidence from Colombia (June 1, 2011). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5681, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1865119

Javier Eduardo Baez

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Adriana Camacho

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

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