On the Evaluation of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: An Analysis of CCT Programs and Poverty

Pedro Avila

On the Evaluation of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: An Analysis of CCT Programs and Poverty
Avila, Pedro
Master's theses
Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences
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M.A., Columbia University.
Conditional Cash Transfer programs are the popular government welfare paradigm of the new millennium, the main objectives of which are to lower poverty levels in the short term by distributing cash, as well as to decrease poverty in the long term by incentivizing program participants to build the human capital necessary to support themselves without program benefits. Though these programs are not a singular answer to the eradication of poverty, they are praised as innovative and necessary tools of welfare. Their popularity and relative novelty have captivated the attention of both academics and practitioners, and as a result, their effects are widely studied. Specifically, their effects on improving health, education and social outcomes are thoroughly documented. A key element is missing, however, in the ongoing effort to evaluate these programs. Evaluations that discuss the programs' outcome potentials in the long run must show that poverty levels in countries where these programs have been implemented sustainably decrease. Using generalized poverty data from the World Bank as well as figures for Brazil's CCT program, Bolsa Família, this analysis uses time-series methods to show that while levels of poverty have decreased in countries implementing CCT programs, there is little evidence that CCT programs promise to be as effective in combating poverty in the long term as many would like to believe.
Public policy
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