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Do conditional cash transfers reduce child labor?: Evidence from the Philippines (Galang 2016)

Absence of conflict of interest.

Citation

Galang, I. M. (2016). Do conditional cash transfers reduce child labor?: Evidence from the Philippines (Unpublished Master's thesis). Tokyo, Japan: The University of Tokyo.

Highlights

  • The objective of the study was to examine the impact of the Philippines conditional cash transfer program, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), on child labor and school attendance.
  • The authors used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of children ages 12-14 that received the conditional cash transfers with those who did not, based on data from the 2011 Annual Poverty Indicator Survey. Using several demographic characteristics, they created a matched comparison group of families who did not receive the benefit to assess the effectiveness of the cash transfer program.
  • The study found that receipt of the cash transfer was significantly associated with increased school attendance but not significantly associated with child labor.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not account for the outcomes of schooling and work at baseline. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the 4Ps program; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program

Features of the Intervention

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) conditional cash transfer (CCT) program was initiated in 2008, which was targeted to poor households with children and pregnant women. The program's goals were to provide education and health cash grants and provide human capital investments to combat intergenerational poverty. In 2011, the education grant for children ages 6 to 14 was $300 PHP per month (7 USD) per child for 10 months; up to 3 children were allowed to register for the grant. In 2012, the program was expanded to include children ages 15 to 17. As a requirement of the program, children must have 85 percent school attendance (children ages 3 to 5 needed day care with 85% attendance). The health grant required children 0-5 to receive preventative health check-ups, monitoring of growth, and vaccines. Pregnant women must get prenatal care and have a health worker professional with them during child birth, and mothers who have given birth need post-natal care as part of the Department of Health protocol. Additionally, children ages 6-14 need de-worming pills twice a year. Participants chosen for the 4Ps occurred through geographic and household targeting. Municipalities that had more than 50 percent poverty were considered "very poor" and those with less were “moderate poor”. A means tests was conducted to estimate household income compared to a threshold.

Features of the Study

The authors used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of children ages 6-17 that received the conditional cash transfers with those who did not, based on data from the 2011 Annual Poverty Indicator Survey. Using several demographic characteristics, they created a matched comparison group of families who did not receive the benefit to assess the effectiveness of the cash transfer program. The authors used logit regression to estimate the propensity scores, based on covariates and conducted a balance check on the matching quality. This study focused on children ages 12 to 14, resulting in a sample size of N=5,878.

Findings

Employment/Child labor

  • The study found no statistically significant relationships between 4Ps and child labor.

Education (School participation/enrollment)

  • The study found a positive relationship between the program and school attendance (96 percent of 4Ps participants attended school versus 89 percent for non-4Ps participants).

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The authors created a matched group of non-participating households to compare to 4Ps participants. However, the authors did not account for the outcomes at baseline, such as previous school attendance or child labor. Preexisting differences between the groups—and not the program/intervention— could explain the observed differences in outcomes.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors did not account for the outcomes of schooling and work at baseline. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to 4Ps; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

December 2018

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