Panel Paper: Building Dreams: The Short-Term Impacts of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Aspirations to Attain Higher Education

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Building 5, Sala Maestros Upper (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Arturo Harker1, Sandra Garcia2 and Jorge Cuartas1, (1)Universidad de los Andes, School of Government, (2)Universidad de los Andes

This paper analyzes the short-term impacts of a large scale conditional cash transfer (cct) program on educational aspirations in poor households. Using data from the quasi-experimental impact evaluation of the Colombian program Familias en Acción and a difference-in-differences approach, we find a positive impact on aspirations to attend higher education for both children and parents. Particularly, after more than one year of exposure to the program, parents were 11 percentage points more likely to believe their children would attend higher education and children were 20 percentage points more likely to aspire to attend higher education. Robustness checks using a combination of matching techniques and difference-in-differences further support the internal validity of our estimates. Additionally, we find that the effect was larger for parents in the most vulnerable households: the poorest, the least educated, and those located in rural areas. Also, our findings suggest the presence of heterogeneous effects for parents in households with children younger than seven, who were also eligible for a nutrition subsidy. Based on these results, we discuss policy implications that could potentially boost long-term educational impacts of similar CCT programs.