After Mexico introduced Progresa (now Oportunidades) and Brazil launched its Bolsa Escola (now Bolsa Familia) in the mid-nineties, development gurus were quick to hail conditional cash transfers (CCTs) as the poverty’s new silver bullet. The case of CCTs is particularly interesting to evaluation researchers, as it also ushered in an era of state-led evaluations, and blessed evaluators with the rare gift of evaluation forethought: most CCTs were rolled out randomly, so as to allow researchers to form an easy counterfactual (those who hadn’t received the program yet). Cue the flood of rigorous evaluations on a fascinating topic.
So, it has been two decades. What ever happened to the CCTs of Latin America?
For those unfamiliar with CCTs, I give a quick (over-simplified) synopsis: Conditional cash transfers are programs run by the state that aim to alleviate poverty in both the short- and long-term. They do this…
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