Demand and Supply-Side Determinants of Conditional Cash Transfer Program Effectiveness: Improving the First-Generation Programs

Jul 2005
The Programa Nacional de Becas Estudiantiles is a conditional cash transfer program designed to promote long-term human capital accumulation among Argentine youth and to reduce poverty. This study follows a 1999 cohort of students from 24 schools for five years. Propensity score matching methods are used with a comparison group of students who were excluded due to quotas to estimate the average and marginal impacts of the Becas program. Multilevel methods are also used to estimate the contributions of Becas program management and school characteristics in explaining variation between schools in student outcomes. The results show significant effects of the Becas program in increasing attendance, reducing grade repetition and improving students' performance. The impacts were largest for students who received the scholarship for more than one year, suggesting a dynamic incentive may have been established by linking receipt of the scholarship in subsequent years to students' academic performance in the first year of participation. The multilevel analysis suggested that efforts to strengthen institutional capacity and conditions for learning in the schools and to promote better management and communication also contributed to student performance.