Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A New Report on Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America

For those of you interested in CCT, make sure to check out this report just published by ECLA, the UN's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, on Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America

The report sums up the experience with in Latin America and the Caribbean, over more than 15 years. During this period, CCTs have spread through the region’s various countries as a tool of choice for poverty-reduction policy. CCTs entails the transfer of monetary and nonmonetary resources to families with young children, living in poverty or extreme poverty, on condition that they fulfil specific commitments aimed at improving their human capacities. They are consider just one of many non-contributory social protection instruments in the countries’ poverty reduction toolkits, other can be social pensions, emergency jobs, educational scholarships and subsidies for home purchases etc. 

A couple of interesting points about the report:
  • CCT have worked sufficiently well and produced their expected outcomes in large countries with considerable resources at their disposal, such as Brazil and Mexico, but this does not mean that they can be exported to any country and produce the same results
  • Viewing the CCTs in terms of entitlement and rights makes it hard to interpret them as instruments of patronage that can be manipulated by different political actors
  • CCTs can help to create a “virtuous circle” for poor and vulnerable families. Income transfers, when constant over time, provide a basic safety net for the poor, who by having a guaranteed minimum level of subsistence will have greater opportunities to enter the labor market.