Conditional cash transfers and vouchers

Ansari, A. (2012). Educational Voucher Scheme in Lahore: Serving the Underserved. National Center for the Study.

The focus of this paper is to evaluate an educational voucher scheme in Lahore, targeted towards serving low-income families, by using the criteria of freedom of choice, equity, productive efficiency, and social cohesion. The main objective of Punjab Education Foundation’s (PEF) Educational Voucher Scheme is to provide residents of katchiabadis in Lahore with access to schools, and to empower families by giving them the ability to choose between different schooling options. This gives families greater freedom of choice and increases equity as many out of school children now have access to schools. Although data on the achievement of EVS students is limited, the results suggest that on average, EVS students are doing just as well as their peers. Furthermore, studies on the costs of schooling in Pakistan suggest that private schools have a clear cost advantage over public schools, which means that a program like the EVS could potentially lead toincreased productive efficiency of schools, however, costs of the implementing the voucher program must also considered. The effect of this voucher scheme on social cohesion is not as clear. Due to a lack of regulations on curriculum it seems unlikely that children will experience a common schooling experience.

Chaudhury, N., &Parajuli, D. (2010). Conditional cash transfers and female schooling: the impact of the female school stipend programme on public school enrolments in Punjab, Pakistan. World BankImpact Evaluation Series, 9.

This impact evaluation study is part of the World Bank Policy Research Working Paper series and seeks to evaluate the impact of the Female Secondary School Stipend (FSSS), which was one component of the Punjab Education Sector Reform Program (PESRP). Since previous studies had looked at the overall effect of the program, there was no way to understand the effectiveness of this gender targeted CCT. The program was inspired by the Bangladesh FSSS program but based the eligibility of the stipend on attending public secondary schools only. For householdsthat were going to send their daughters to middle/secondary school anyway, it was essentially anincome transfer. Only for households with out-of-school daughters, was it an incentive payment. The authors used various empirical methods to evaluate the effect on enrollment. This included difference and difference, triple difference and regression discontuity design. While results varied, they all showed an increase in net enrollment. It was demonstrated that that average program impact between 2003 and 2005 was an increase of 6 female students per school in terms of absolute change and an increase of 9 percent female enrollment in terms of relative change.

Hasan, A. (2010). Time allocation in rural households: The indirect effects of conditional cash transfer programs. Policy Research Working Paper, 5256 (43). World Bank.

This research as part of the Impact Evaluation series at the World Bank, expands on the previous study carried out by Chaudhury and Parajuli on the CCT program implemented in Punjab, targeting girls in secondary schools. While the evaluation of the program demonstrated positive results of targeting girls through stipends, it failed to look at any indirect effect of this program, specifically on household allocations. Therefore, this paper provides a more holistic view of unintended consequences of CCT programs by using the data provided by the LEAPS survey. It particularly examines how the mother’s time allocation responds when a gender-targeted CCT program increases the enrollment of girls, reducing their supply of labor in the household. The evidence suggests that mothers spend more time on housework and less time on children’s needs. There is also no evidence of changes in the amount of time mothers sleep or participate in paid work. While this analysis does not change the advocated benefits of the program, it does demonstrate the need to be cautious when generalizing from one setting to another, evaluations of programs in developing countries where program design and implementation frequently are found to diverge.