BREAD Working Paper No. 584, January 2021

Do Conditional Cash Transfers Improve Economic Outcomes in the Next Generation? Evidence from Mexico

Tom Vogl, Susan Parker

Abstract

Conditional cash transfer programs have spread to over 60 countries in the past two decades, but little is known about their long-term effects. We estimate the lasting impact of childhood exposure to Mexico’s flagship program Progresa by leveraging the age structure of benefits and geographic variation in early program penetration nationwide. Childhood exposure improves women’s outcomes in early adulthood, with increases in educational attainment, geographic mobility, labor market performance, and household living standards. For men, effects are smaller and more difficult to distinguish from spatial convergence.

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