Cash, Conditions and Child Development: Experimental Evidence from a Cash Transfer in Honduras

27 Pages Posted: 21 May 2019

See all articles by Florencia López Bóo

Florencia López Bóo

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Young Lives, Department of International Development, University of Oxford; IZA

John Creamer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

We explore the effects of a randomly assigned conditional cash transfer in Honduras (Bono 10000) on early childhood development. We find significant impacts on cognitive development in children 0-60 months, with an average effect size of 0.13 SD. We show differential impacts by type of transfer: 0-5-year-old children from families receiving the "health" transfer, which targeted families with 0-5-year-old children only, benefited significantly from the program, whereas 0-5 year-olds in families receiving the "education" transfer, which targeted 6-18 year-olds, perceived no benefit. In comparison with other programs, the effect of this impact is sizeable (0.34 SD on average). Although the overall program appears to have slightly changed some behaviors that might affect children (i.e. decreased probability of maternal employment, and increased maternal self-esteem), we did not find heterogenous impacts of the Bono across these variables. Results are explained mainly by differences in conditions: while the "education" component imposed conditions only on children of schooling age, the "health" transfer required regular health checkups of 0-5 year old children. The "health" transfer families were more likely to attend health checkups, which may have induced behavior changes that improved children's health and cognitive development, including purchasing more nutritious food. These results imply that cash without well-targeted conditions attached, might not be as effective for the development of young children.

Keywords: Honduras, education, health, early childhood development, children, conditional cash transfers (CCTs), impact evaluation

JEL Classification: C93, J13, I25, I38

Suggested Citation

López Bóo, Florencia and Creamer, John, Cash, Conditions and Child Development: Experimental Evidence from a Cash Transfer in Honduras (January 2019). IZA Discussion Paper No. 12109, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3390097

Florencia López Bóo (Contact Author)

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Young Lives, Department of International Development, University of Oxford ( email )

Queen Elizabeth House
3 Mansfield Road
Oxford, OX1 3TB
United Kingdom

IZA ( email )

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

John Creamer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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