Title

Cash or condition? Evidence from a cash transfer experiment

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

11-1-2011

Journal

Quarterly Journal of Economics

Volume

126

Issue

4

DOI

10.1093/qje/qjr032

Abstract

This article assesses the role of conditionality in cash transfer programs using a unique experiment targeted at adolescent girls in Malawi. The program featured two distinct interventions: unconditional transfers (UCT arm) and transfers conditional on school attendance (CCT arm). Although there was a modest decline in the dropout rate in the UCT arm in comparison with the control group, it was only 43% as large as the impact in the CCT arm at the end of the 2-year program. The CCT arm also outperformed the UCT arm in tests of English reading comprehension. However, teenage pregnancy and marriage rates were substantially lower in the UCT than the CCT arm, entirely due to the impact of UCTs on these outcomes among girls who dropped out of school. © The Author(s) 2011. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.

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