Panel Paper: The Impact of Argentina's Asignación Universal Por Hijo (UNIVERSAL CHILD ALLOWANCE PROGRAM) Cashtransfer Program on Enrollment, Dropout Rates and Grade Promotion

Saturday, November 8, 2014 : 10:55 AM
Santa Ana (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Gaston Pierri, University of Alcala de Henares; University of Minnesota
The Impact of Argentina’s Universal Child Allowance Cash Transfer Program on Children’s Educational Outcomes.

This paper explores the effect of the Universal Child Allowance (Asignación Universal por Hijo, AUH), a cash transfer program to households with children, implemented in Argentina in 2009. This paper evaluates the impact of the UAH on educational outcomes. The research implements an ex-post evaluation through the application of a non-experimental economic strategy.

To assess impact, the paper utilizes propensity score matching methods on data from the Encuesta Permanente de Hogares, a household survey carried out regularly in Argentina, to examine whether children in recipient households have lower rates of drop out and higher rates of grade advancement.

The AUH is a cash transfer that is paid on a monthly basis to one of the parents, a tutor, or relative up to the third degree of consanguinity. The participants receive an amount of money for every child under 18 years of age, except for the case of disabled people for which there is no age limit. The children must be a native of Argentina or have at least three years of residence in the country. The benefit is a set amount per child and can be claimed for up to 5 dependant children. Its initial value was $180 (USD 47) per child and $720 for disabled dependants. In September 2010 the value was raised to $220 (USD 56) and then again one year later to $270 (USD 64) in order to protect its purchasing power given high levels of inflation in Argentina.

The AUH is a semi-conditional cash transfer with 80% of its value paid on a monthly basis to the benefit holders. The remaining 20% is deposited into a savings account in the name of the adult recipient. The latter sum is made available for withdrawal once the recipient has certified the fulfillment of the vaccination plan and other sanitary controls.

For children under the age of 5, the latter sum is made available for withdrawal once the recipient has completed a vaccination plan and met other sanitary requirements. School aged children must additionally show completion of their school year.

The data employed in this paper comes from the Permanent Household Survey (Encuesta Permanente de Hogares, EPH), which is are the regular household survey of Argentina carried out by the National Statistical Office (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos, INDEC). EPH covers 31 urban areas and collects information with an emphasis on labor market variables.

The preliminary research find that the receipt of cash transfers has not significant effect on either drop out or grade advancement for the population as whole, but that a small negative effect on drop out and a positive effect on grade advancement can be detected for the northwestern and northeastern regions, two regions that are generally poorer and have worse education outcomes to start with.