Short-term impacts of an unconditional cash transfer program on child schooling: Experimental evidence from Malawi
Kelly Kilburn, Sudhanshu Handa, Department of Public Policy, United States ; Gustavo Angeles, Department of Maternal and Child Health, United States ; Peter Mvula, Maxton Tsoka, Centre for Social Research, Malawi
Economics of Education Review Volume 59, Number 1, ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
This study analyzes the impact of a positive income shock on child schooling outcomes using experimental data from an unconditional cash transfer program in Malawi. Since households receive the cash and parents are responsible for making spending decisions, we also examine the intervening pathways between cash transfers and child schooling. Data comes from a cluster-randomized study of Malawi's Social Cash Transfer Program (SCTP). After a baseline survey, households in village clusters were randomly assigned to treatment and control arms with treatment villages receiving transfers immediately and control villages assigned a later entry. We test for treatment impacts on a panel of school-aged children (6–17) using a differences-in-differences model. After a years’ worth of transfers, we find the Malawi SCTP both improves enrollment rates and decreases dropouts. The main intervening pathway between the program and schooling is education expenditures, suggesting that the cash improves the demand for education by reducing financial constraints.
Kilburn, K., Handa, S., Angeles, G., Mvula, P. & Tsoka, M. (2017). Short-term impacts of an unconditional cash transfer program on child schooling: Experimental evidence from Malawi. Economics of Education Review, 59(1), 63-80. Elsevier Ltd.