Keeping Refugee Children in School and Out of Work: Evidence from the World's Largest Humanitarian Cash Transfer Program
99 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2022
This paper investigates the impact of unconditional cash transfers for refugees on child work and schooling in the context of the world’s largest humanitarian cash transfer program in Turkey. Using household survey data and employing a regression discontinuity design, we find large effects on child labor and schooling. The program reduces the percentage of children working from 14.0 to 1.6 and the percentage of children not in school from 36.2 to 13.7. By unpacking the mechanisms at play, we show that transfers become a significant part of households’ income, alleviate extreme poverty, and reduce the use of harmful coping strategies. Investigating the reasons for children not attending school, we find that the beneficiary households become more likely to send children to school because the cash transfer addresses both the opportunity cost and direct cost of schooling—although the former channel is more important.
Keywords: refugees, cash transfers, Education, child labor, regression discontinuity design, Turkey
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