Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment

57 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Sarah Baird

Sarah Baird

George Washington University - School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS)

Craig McIntosh

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS)

Berk Ozler

World Bank - Development Economics Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: March 1, 2010

Abstract

Conditional Cash Transfer programs are "...the world's favorite new anti-poverty device," (The Economist, July 29 2010) yet little is known about the specific role of the conditions in driving their success. In this paper, we evaluate a unique cash transfer experiment targeted at adolescent girls in Malawi that featured both a conditional (CCT) and an unconditional (UCT) treatment arm. We find that while there was a modest improvement in school enrollment in the UCT arm in comparison to the control group, this increase is only 43 percent as large as the CCT arm. The CCT arm also outperformed the UCT arm in tests of English reading comprehension. The schooling condition, however, proved costly for important non-schooling outcomes: teenage pregnancy and marriage rates were substantially higher in the CCT than the UCT arm. Our findings suggest that a CCT program for early adolescents that transitions into a UCT for older teenagers would minimize this trade-off by improving schooling outcomes while avoiding the adverse impacts of conditionality on teenage pregnancy and marriage.

Keywords: Education For All, Population Policies, Primary Education, Tertiary Education, Teaching and Learning

Suggested Citation

Baird, Sarah and McIntosh, Craig and Ozler, Berk, Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment (March 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5259. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1585038

Sarah Baird

George Washington University - School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) ( email )

2300 I Street, NW
Ross Hall 106
Washington, DC 20037
United States

Craig McIntosh

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

Berk Ozler

World Bank - Development Economics Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/bozler

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