Learning About the Enforcement of Conditional Welfare Programs: Evidence from Brazil

60 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2017

See all articles by Fernanda Brollo

Fernanda Brollo

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Katja Maria Kaufmann

Mannheim University

Eliana La Ferrara

Bocconi University - Department of Economics

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Date Written: April 2017

Abstract

We study the implementation of Bolsa Familia, a program that conditions cash transfers to poor families on children's school attendance. Using unique administrative data, we analyze how beneficiaries respond to the enforcement of conditionality. Making use of random variation in the day on which punishments are received, we find that school attendance increases after families are punished for past noncompliance. Families also respond to penalties experienced by peers: a child's attendance increases if her own classmates, but also her siblings' classmates (in other grades or schools), experience enforcement. As the severity of penalties increases with repeated noncompliance, households' response is larger when peers receive a penalty that the family has not (yet) received. We thus find evidence of spillover effects and learning about enforcement.

Suggested Citation

Brollo, Fernanda and Kaufmann, Katja Maria and La Ferrara, Eliana, Learning About the Enforcement of Conditional Welfare Programs: Evidence from Brazil (April 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11965, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2957504

Fernanda Brollo (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Katja Maria Kaufmann

Mannheim University ( email )

Mannheim University
Department of Economics
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

Eliana La Ferrara

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

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