International Health Care Systems Labor Economics Public Policy

Red de Protección Social: CCTs in Nicaragua

Oportunidades (formlerly known as Progresa) is a well known initiative in Mexico that provides cash payments to families in exchange for regular school attendance, health clinic visits, and nutritional support.  The program started in 1997 as a program known as Progresa; Oportunidades in its current form began in in 2002.

Oportunidades, however, is not the only conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.  Nicaragua for instance instituted a similar program as described in Thomas 2012.

Red de Protección Social (RPS) was implemented in 2000 as a pilot randomized evaluation in 42 localities of six rural municipalities of Nicaragua. The pilot evaluation was maintained as an experiment for 2 years following which the initial control group was integrated with the treatment group and provided the cash transfers. The program was designed to target education of children in rural households and had two transfer components. The first [cash transfer] was a school transfer component given conditional on all children in the household between the ages of 7 and 13 years who have not completed grade 4 of primary school enrolling and maintaining 85% attendance. Independent of the school component the food security, health and nutrition transfer was provided directly to mothers of beneficiary households conditional on (i) bringing her children to scheduled preventive health checks, (ii) attending bimonthly health education workshops and (iii) adequate weight gain for children.

How large were these CCTs?

The amounts of the transfer for each household included the Córdoba 2000 equivalent of US$224 for food security and US$112 for the education component per year. In addition, families also received a per child school supplies transfer of US$21. Maluccio and Flores (2005) estimated that the food transfer was approximately 13% of annual household expenditure, and if families had only one school component eligible child, then they received an additional 8% of annual household expenditure.

Thomas 2012 finds that RPS causes a significant increase in the number of children who receive health checks and full coverage of vaccination (FCV).


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