DP5792 Child Education and Work Choices in the Presence of a Conditional Cash Transfer Programme in Rural Colombia

Author(s): Orazio Attanasio, Emla Fitzsimons, Ana Gomez, Diana Lopez, Costas Meghir, Alice Mesnard
Publication Date: August 2006
Keyword(s): child labour, conditional cash transfers, education
JEL(s): I28, I38, J22, O15
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5792

The paper studies the effects of Familias en Acción, a conditional cash transfer programme implemented in rural areas in Colombia in 2002, on school enrolment and child labour. Using a quasi-experimental approach, our methodology makes use of an interesting feature of the data, which allows us to identify anticipation effects. Our results show that the programme increased school participation of 14 to 17 year old children quite substantially, by between 5 and 7 percentage points, and had lower, but non-negligible effects on enrolment of younger children of between around 1.5 and 2.5 percentage points. In terms of work, the effects are generally largest for younger children whose participation in domestic work decreased by around 10 to 12 percentage points after the programme but whose participation in income-generating work remained largely unaffected by the programme. We also find evidence of school and work time not being fully substitutable, suggesting that some, but not all, of the increased time at school may be drawn from children?s leisure time.