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Do Schooling Gains Sustain Disruption? Studying the Rollback of a Successful CCT in Mexico

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Join us for our SPP Research Seminar Series!

Speaker: Susan Parker (Professor, School of Public Policy, UMD)

Abstract: We study the effects of the recent and sudden rollback of the Mexican conditional cash transfer Prospera on schooling of children. Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs link monetary transfers to poor households to children’s education and health and were first pioneered in Mexico and Brazil two decades ago, now operating in more than 60 mostly developing countries (ibarraran et al. 2017). Prospera’s (previously named Progresa/Oportunidades) initial randomized evaluation and follow up studies demonstrated significant and important improvements on children’s education and health outcomes, as well as in household economic outcomes, summarized in (Parker and Todd, 2017).  These studies contributed to both a scale up within Mexico and the spread of its key features to new programs around the world.  The sudden rollback of Prospera in early 2019 by President Lopez Obrador provides a unique natural experiment to study whether the positive effects on children of this pioneering and emulated around the world program will be sustained after this sudden change in their households’ economic situations. This paper demonstrates that the sudden elimination of Prospera led to immediate reductions in school enrollment of (previously) beneficiary children.

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