Demand-Side Incentives for Better Health for the Poor: Conditional Cash Transfer Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean

Dec 2006
Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs are spreading rapidly throughout the developing world. These are the subjects of this paper and include Colombia's Familias en Acción, Honduras' PRAF, Jamaica's PATH, Mexico's Progresa/Oportunidades, and Nicaragua's Red de Protección Social. While evaluation results are encouraging, features of program design are remarkably similar country to country, generating concerns that local realities are not sufficiently taken into account and highlighting the need for better ex ante analysis of the underlying development problem to be solved by the intervention. This paper will critically analyze the program effect model with respect to health and nutrition outcomes, present the health and nutrition evaluation results to date, draw some conclusions regarding the use of CCT programs to improve health and nutrition status and promote healthy behaviors, and suggest future directions for the use of CCT programs as an incentive to promote service use and healthy feeding practices.