Spillovers from Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: Bolsa Família and Crime in Urban Brazil

31 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2012

See all articles by Laura Chioda

Laura Chioda

World Bank

Joao De Mello

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics

Rodrigo R. Soares

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA); Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs on crime. Making use of a unique dataset combining detailed school characteristics with time and geo-referenced crime information from the city of São Paulo, Brazil, we estimate the contemporaneous effect of the Bolsa Família program on crime. We address the endogeneity of CCT coverage by exploiting the 2008 expansion of the program to adolescents aged 16 and 17. We construct an instrument that combines the timing of expansion and the initial demographic composition of schools to identify plausibly exogenous variations in the number of children covered by Bolsa Família. We find a robust and significant negative impact of Bolsa Família coverage on crime. The evidence suggests that the main effect works through increased household income or changed peer group, rather than from incapacitation from time spent in school.

Keywords: crime, Bolsa Família, conditional cash transfer, education, schooling, Brazil

JEL Classification: I28, I38, K42

Suggested Citation

Chioda, Laura and De Mello, Joao M. P. and Soares, Rodrigo R., Spillovers from Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: Bolsa Família and Crime in Urban Brazil. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6371, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2015187

Laura Chioda (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Joao M. P. De Mello

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics ( email )

Rua Marques de Sao Vicente, 225/206F
Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22453
Brazil

Rodrigo R. Soares

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics ( email )

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São Paulo, São Paulo 01332-000
Brazil

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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