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Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Do Cash Transfers Increase the Wellbeing of Children? A review of the literature

Summary

Do Cash Transfers Increase the Wellbeing of Children? A review of the literature

The principal idea behind cash transfers for child wellbeing is that providing the poor with additional financial resources will enable them to invest in their children’s future. Cash transfer programs vary significantly in terms of their design but most of them are targeted toward poor and vulnerable populations with an overarching goal of breaking the transmission of poverty between generations and improving human capital. Two key differences characterize their designs: some are unconditional, when the recipient is not obligated to fulfill any requirements to receive the transfer, while others are conditional on certain actions on behalf of the recipient, such as enrolling children in school or taking them to regular health care checkups. Besides the existence of conditions, or a lack thereof, cash transfer programs may include a wide range of supporting practices, such as provision of nutritional supplements or a parental intervention aiming to increase the quality of care children receive at home.

This review provides a synthesis of findings from 51 studies evaluating the effectiveness of cash transfers in improving children’s wellbeing, focusing on their education and cognitive development, health and nutrition, and the likelihood of engaging in child labor.



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