Do Conditional Cash Transfers Reinforce the Traditional Gendered Division of Labor?
58 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2022
Date Written: December 29, 2021
We analyze the impact of the main conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in Colombia (Familias en Acción) on the allocation of time to unpaid work activities by men and women. The program includes a health transfer and an education transfer offered in exchange for meeting conditions (mainly medical check-ups in the health transfer and school attendance in the education transfer). We investigate the effects of each transfer in isolation and in combination using machine learning techniques as applied to nationally-representative data. We find that the health transfer does not affect adult time use while the education transfer has two distinct effects. First, the education transfer decreases women’s time spent caring for household members without pay in households with young children, suggesting that the program’s incentives for keeping children in school relieve the burden of care for mothers. In contrast, the effect on households with older children may be reinforcing traditional gender roles for parents. In households with older children (ages 11–18), the education transfer increases the time women spend in other unpaid domestic work (activities such as food preparation, cleaning, and house maintenance), indicating that women are the ones who compensate for lost labor at home when older children stay longer in school. In these households, the CCT transfer also decreases time allocated toward paid work among men to a larger extent than among women.
Keywords: conditional cash transfer, impact evaluation, time allocation, child care, domestic work, labor supply, Colombia
JEL Classification: J22, J16, O54, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation