Paris School of Economics
Can the proven short-term gains of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs in developing countries translate into longer-term benefits? Karen Macours will present a new paper, in which she and her co-authors use a CCT program in Nicaragua to estimate the long-term effects on educational attainment, learning and earnings, measured 10 years after the start of the program. They focus on a cohort of boys aged 9–12 years at the start of the program in 2000 who, due to the program’s eligibility criteria and prior school dropout patterns, were likely to have benefitted more in the localities that were randomly selected to receive the program first.
Macours and co-authors find that the short-term program effect of a half grade increase in schooling for boys was sustained after the end of the program and into early adulthood. In addition, results indicate substantial gains in both math and language achievement scores--a significant increase in learning outcomes for the now young men. Furthermore, the intervention yielded dividends in the labor market, with a clear positive shift in labor market earnings. In this case, schooling, achievement and earning gains coincided, implying important long-term returns to CCT programs.
*Following the move to our new home, CGD has renamed the Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar series the CGD Invited Research Forum. Now in its thirteenth year, the series brings some of the world's leading development scholars to discuss their new research and ideas. The presentations meet an academic standard of quality and are at times technical, but retain a focus on a mixed audience of researchers and policymakers. For more on the history of the series, check out this blog by Michael Clemens.