Several developing economies have recently introduced conditional cash transfer programs, which provide money to poor families contingent on certain behavior, usually investments in human capital, such as sending children to school or bringing them to health centers. The approach is both an alternative to more traditional social assistance programs and a demand-side complement to the supply of health and education services.
The authors reviewed the evidence regarding the impact of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes on child nutrition outcomes, using a programme theory framework. They developed a programme impact model and synthesised evidence regarding the pathways through which CCTs may improve child nutrition. CCT programmes significantly improve child anthropometry but have very little impact on micronutrient status. The programmes also have a positive impact on several of the outcomes in the pathways to improved nutrition.
Samuel Morley and David Coady demonstrate how a promising new alternative to standard donor-financed education programs—the conditioned transfer for education (CTE) program—can advance both poverty reduction and education goals at the same time. CTE programs meet the immediate needs of the poorest families by providing cash or food but only on the condition that they keep their children in school. These transfers reduce poverty in the short run, and the additional education of the children of poor families breaks the long-run cycle of poverty by increasing their earning potential.