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Program Keluarga Harapan: Main findings from the impact evaluation of Indonesia’s pilot household conditional cash transfer program (World Bank 2011)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

World Bank. (2011). Program Keluarga Harapan: Main findings from the impact evaluation of Indonesia’s pilot household conditional cash transfer program. Retrieved from http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/589171468266179965/Program-Keluarga-Harapan-impact-evaluation-of-Indonesias-Pilot-Household-Conditional-Cash-Transfer-Program

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of a conditional cash transfer program, Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH), on child school and work participation.
  • The study was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that compared outcomes between the treatment and control groups using household surveys conducted before and two years after initial program implementation.
  • The study found a significant increase in time spent working in family enterprises for children 13-15 and children 7-12 in the treatment group compared to the control group. The study found that relative to the control group, children aged 13-15 who participated in the program had significantly larger increases in the hours attending school two years after program implementation began. However, school enrollment rates significantly decreased for children aged 7-12 who participated in the program.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because randomization was compromised but the authors ensured that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Program Keluarga Harapan, but other factors might also have contributed.

Features of the Intervention

Program Keluarga Harapan (PKH) was a conditional cash transfer program implemented in Indonesia. The program targeted sub-districts that were low-income and had high rates of school dropout. Sub-districts were only selected if there were sufficient education and health services available in the area and if the local government supported the program. Within the selected sub-districts, households were eligible if they were below a poverty cut-off level, had women who were pregnant or lactating, and either had children 0-15 years old or children who were 18 years of age or younger, but with less than 9 years of education. Participating households could receive a quarterly cash transfer that was contingent on household receipt of health care and school-aged children’s school attendance. The local government in the sub-districts implemented the program.

Features of the Study

The study was a randomized controlled trial, where 588 eligible sub-districts were randomly assigned to the treatment group receiving PKH (259 sub-districts) or the control group that did not receive any program benefits (329 sub-districts). Within sub-districts, eligible households were selected for the treatment group, but were limited by a quota. The eligible households were part of a predetermined list based on poverty level and household characteristics (e.g., female who was pregnant or lactating, child aged 0-15, child aged 16-18 with less than nine years of education). The participating households were not randomly selected in all of the treatment sub-districts; purposive selection of larger households with less education and fewer assets occurred.

The authors used a baseline survey and a follow-up survey conducted two years after the start of the program to assess study outcomes. Child labor outcomes included participation rates in wage work and the number of hours spent in wage work in the past week and month. School attendance outcomes included the number of hours spent in school in the past week as well as the rates of school enrollment, late enrollment, school participation, attendance, and dropout. The authors randomly selected 180 sub-districts from the treatment group and 180 sub-districts from the control group to participate in the survey. Within each of the sub-districts, eight villages were randomly selected. One rural ward or urban precinct was randomly selected from each village; however, concerns about the number of treated households led to quota sampling for wards and precincts based on the eligibility lists. Additional wards from remaining villages were selected to balance the groups. The analysis sample included 8,298 children aged 7-12 (3,163 in the treatment group and 5,135 in the control group), and 2,449 children aged 13-15 (922 in the treatment group and 1,527 in the control group). The analyses examined differences in labor and schooling outcomes between the control group and the treatment group households that participated in the program. Since there were issues with PKH implementation in 43 sub-districts, the authors also examined differences between the control group and all households eligible for the program (intent-to-treat).

Findings

Working children/Child labor

  • Compared to the control group, the study found that PKH significantly increased time spent working in family enterprises by two hours in the past week and .5 hours in the past month for children aged 7-12.
  • For children aged 13-15, the study found that PKH significantly increased time spent working in family enterprises by three hours in the past week.
  • The study did not find significant differences between the treatment group and the control group in participation in paid work in the past week or month.
  • The study also did not find significant differences between the treatment group and the control group in the number of hours spent in paid work or household work in the past week or month.

Education (School participation/enrollment)

  • For children aged 13-15, the study found that PKH significantly increased school attendance by .7 hours per week compared to the control group. No significant differences were found for rates of school enrollment, late enrollment, school participation, attendance, or dropout.
  • For children aged 7-12, the study found that PKH significantly decreased the rate of school enrollment by 2.3 percentage points. No significant differences were found for hours attending school per week, rates of late enrollment, school participation, attendance, or dropout.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

Random assignment was compromised for this study. After randomly assigning the sub-districts to the treatment or control group, the authors used different procedures in each study group to identify households to participate in the study. In addition, the sample changed between the baseline and follow-up survey, since some children were not eligible to complete questions about child labor and school participation because they were too young to answer these questions when they took the baseline survey, or too old when they took the follow-up survey.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because randomization was compromised but the authors ensured that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to Program Keluarga Harapan, but other factors might also have contributed.

Additional Sources

World Bank. (2012). PKH Conditional cash transfer: Social assistance program and public expenditure review 6. Retrieved from http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/845441468258848819/Program-Keluarga-Harapan-PKH-conditional-cash-transfer

Reviewed by CLEAR

February 2021

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