Cash Transfers and Child Schooling: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation of the Role of Conditionality

Richard Akresh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Damien de Walque, World Bank Group
Harounan Kazianga, Oklahoma State University

We conduct a randomized experiment in Burkina Faso to estimate the impact of alternative cash transfer delivery mechanisms on education. The two-year pilot program randomly distributed cash transfers that were either conditional (on enrollment and attendance) or unconditional. Results indicate that conditional and unconditional transfers have similar impacts increasing enrollment for children traditionally favored by parents for school participation, including boys, older children, and higher ability children. However, conditional transfers are significantly more effective than unconditional transfers in improving the enrollment of “marginal children”, those less likely to go to school, such as girls, younger children, and lower ability children.

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Presented in Session 178: Safety Net Programs and Their Impacts on Human Capital Investments and Learning Outcomes