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Mexico's Model Conditional Cash Transfer Essay

1987 words - 8 pages

Mexico’s Model Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Program for Fighting Poverty is PROGRESA or Oportunidades, which combines a traditional cash transfer program with financial incentives for positive behavior in health, education, and nutrition specifically in low-income children. The program gives cash exclusively to mothers as long as children regularly attended school and appointments for preventive health care. Mexico’s CCT program reflects the belief that caring for all dimensions of human capital has more socioeconomic returns than considering every impoverished person individually. Better health and nutritional status are not only important by themselves, but have an impact on the effectiveness of education programs (since school attendance and performance are often negatively affected by poor health and nutrition). This is why poor health is seen as a cause and a consequence of poverty. There are studies conducted in different areas of Mexico to evaluate the effectiveness of the PROGRESA program, particularly by looking at boys and girls.
PROGRESA determined household eligibility in two parts, first by identifying underserved communities and then by choosing low-income households within those communities. Approximately, 78% of the households in selected communities were categorized as being eligible. All households in these communities were offered PROGRESA, and 93% enrolled in the program (Parker et al. 2001). Every two months PROGRESA families would get cash transfers usually worth 20-30% of their household income, if conditions are met. An example of these conditions is that: children who are 24-60 months old must attend nutrition monitoring clinics every four months where their growth is measured; they receive supplements if their growth is poor, and they get information on nutrition, health, and hygiene. Over its first three years, PROGRESA extended benefits to approximately 2.6 million families in 50,000 rural villages, which is about 40 percent of rural families and 10% of all families in Mexico (Parker et al. 2001).
Under the education, PROGRESA provided educational grants for children under the age of 18 who enrolled in school between the third grade of primary school and the third grade of secondary school. The grant amounts would be adjusted every six months for inflation, and would increase as the children get higher grades, to show the income they would contribute to their families if they were working. At the junior high level, the grants would be slightly higher for girls than boys- the conditionality of the cash transfers was bound to interact in complex ways with the preferences and income constraints faced by these households. In summary, the results show that the program's largest impact is on the kid’s use of time above 12 years old. These age groups relate to enrollment in junior high or secondary school. The results are consistent with previous studies in that PROGRESA has a much larger impact on the school...

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