Six Years of Comunidades Solidarias Rurales: Impacts on School Entry of an Ongoing Conditional Cash Transfer Program in El Salvador

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Jun 2018
Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs are important anti-poverty programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. There is little evidence, however, of the effectiveness of ongoing CCT programs several years after they have begun. Such evidence is particularly relevant for policymakers because program effects may become larger, as with the operational cycle, or smaller, if enthusiasm on the part of the beneficiaries or the program team wanes. We analyze whether children exposed since birth to a CCT in El Salvador have better outcomes at initial school ages. As such, we capture the cumulative effects of the CCT during early childhood, combined with the current effects of the CCT transfers and conditionalities.Our results show exposure significantly increased school enrollment and early attainment for five-year olds, with smaller effects for six-year-olds. Families of the latter experienced a significant improvement as measured by a wealth index. The pattern of impacts suggests continued program exposure might be improving school readiness or shifting norms around child investment.