Absence of conflict of interest.
Badillo Bautista, C. (2009). Evaluating the direct and indirect effects of a conditional income support program: The case of Progresa (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I. (Accession No. 1314572898)
- The objective of the study was to examine the impact of Mexico’s conditional cash transfer program (PROGRESA/Oportunidades) on child labor for children ages 8 to 17.
- Using survey data from a cluster randomized controlled trial, the authors analyzed the average program impact of the PROGRESA/Oportunidades program using a difference-in- differences (DID) regression model for the child labor outcome and cross-sectional models to estimate spillover effects on child labor.
- The study found the number of children aged 12-16 who worked significantly decreased in cash transfer participating households compared to control households.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this study is high because it is based on a well-implemented, low attrition randomized controlled trial. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to PROGRESA/Oportunidades and not to other factors.
Features of the Intervention
Beginning in 1997, the PROGRESA/Oportunidades program has provided monthly conditional cash transfers, which is approximately 20 percent of the average total household income. By 2012 the program had served 5.8 million households in Mexico. The cash transfer is conditional upon child school attendance (85% of days) for children aged 8-17, and health clinic visits for household members, as well as the requirement for pregnant women and lactating women to take nutritional supplements and go to five pre-natal visits. The amount of the cash transfer varies by gender and increased with the grade of the child. However, if a child repeats a grade twice, he or she will permanently lose the cash transfer.
Features of the Study
The study used survey data from a randomized controlled trial across rural communities in 7 states in Mexico (320 in treatment and 186 in control). Poor households, based on a marginality index, were selected to participate in the program. In this study, the authors used the 1997 baseline survey of Household Socio-Economic Conditions and information from the third follow-up survey (administered in November, 1999).
To test the impact of PROGRESA/Oportunidades program on work, the authors analyzed household-level outcomes for children aged 8-17 at baseline. Outcomes included whether the child participated in paid or unpaid work (excluding domestic chores) in the week prior to the survey. The author disaggregated the findings according to four age bands based on the age eligibility requirements and to understand differences in primary to secondary school children (ages 8-17, 8-16, 12-17, and 12-16). The author estimated impacts using difference-in-differences regression models, including controls for household characteristics.
- For children aged 12-16, the number of children who worked significantly decreased in participating households compared to control households.
- The study found no statistically significant relationship between PROGRESA and child labor for the additional age bands: 8-17, 8-16, 12-17.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this study is high because it is based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial with low attrition. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to PROGRESA/Oportunidades and not to other factors.