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Spanish Trust Fund for Impact Evaluation and Results-based Management in Human Development Sectors (SIEF)

Cluster Fund

Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT)

The Spanish Trust Fund for Impact Evaluation (SIEF) is a €10.4 million program funded by Spain, to support the World Bank in evaluating the impact of innovative programs to improve human development (HD) outcomes. The SIEF supports prospective, rigorous evaluations in eligible developing countries, impact evaluation training, publications, and dissemination of results. The program will run from July 2007–July 2010.

Policy Questions

  • Do CCT programs need conditionality in order to improve outcomes? If so, what types of conditionality work best?

  • What is the effect of CCTs on the accumulation of human capital, including final outcomes in education (years of schooling completed, learning) or health and nutrition (children’s height and weight)?

  • What is the impact of CCT programs on medium and long-term poverty reduction?

  • Does it matter who (in the family) receives the conditional cash transfer?

  • How much does the quality of supply (availability or quality of local schools or health clinics) affect the outcomes from demand-side incentives like CCTs?

Background & Context

Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) have become an increasingly popular strategy for poverty reduction programs. Though used most extensively in Latin America, CCT programs are now being implemented across the globe. The idea behind CCT programs is simple – cash transfers are provided to households that meet certain specific conditions. In other words, for a household to receive a cash transfer they must undertake certain activities (like regular health exams for children or ensuring that school-aged children go to school).1 The objective is to make short-term income transfers contribute to the longer-term objective – protecting the health and schooling of low-income children as a strategy for more sustained poverty reduction.

Notable example of CCT Programming: Mexico’s PROGRESA

Mexico’s Health, Nutrition and Education (PROGRESA) program was launched in 1997 to combat the country’s high poverty rate and to replace a food subsidy and other poverty programs that were considered ineffective. As the program was phased in with a strategy of randomly assigning eligible communities into the program over a three year period, by 1999 it was possible

1 De Brauw, Alan and John Hoddinott. “Must Conditional Cash Transfer Programs be conditioned to be effective? The impact of conditioning transfers on school enrollment in Mexico.” Washington DC: World Bank. 2007.

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