Conditional cash transfers suck …

… or so says this new paper by Javier Báez of the World Bank and Adriana Camacho of Bogotá’s Universidad de los Andes.

The authors wants to measure the long-term effects of CCTs by looking at both participation rates and achievement in standardized tests. They study a CCT experiment in Colombia called Familias en Acción.

The participation rate is what you’d expect: students who participated are a bit more likely to stay in school and graduate than they otherwise would be. But the standardized test results? Well, the CCT made no difference whatsoever.

Students in CCT programs are apparently going to school a bit more. But the effect of these programs on the accumulation of human capital is questionable, according to the authors.

Some people around here are bullish on CCTs. But we need to be careful, and not expect from these programs things they can’t really deliver.

66 thoughts on “Conditional cash transfers suck …

  1. Why is standardized test results the determining factor of success? Was the conditional cash transfer condition to get good grades or to assist school?

  2. Besides the condition, if they are really wanting to measure long-term effects, did they follow what the monies were spent on, then what the receivers of those monies spent it on, then the receivers of those monies and so on? Did the local markets improve? Did the tax reports reflect the increased cash available in the localities? Seems like test results is a very superficial way of measuring long-term effects. Did happiness go up? Were there fewer stress situations at home? Did increased school attendance translate to lower probability of falling prey to crime? Heck, so many questions…

    • Long-term effects are being measured in terms of educational achievement. Presumably, that’s what you care about if you condition giving people money on kids going to school. Otherwise, if you care about all that other stuff, then just give people cash, which I’m sure you’ll agree with.

      • Juan Cristóbal Nagel: “Presumably, that’s what you care about if you condition giving people money on kids going to school.”

        I have to disagree with that presumption. Think back on a lousy student in your school. Do you think that lousy student would have been less lousy if pressured to go more often to school?! If test scores were the presumption, then the condition should not be attendance.

        And, yes, I would agree with just giving people cash. I would prefer a lousy student from a less economically constrained family than a lousy student from an economically constrained family whose lightening of economic constraint depends on the lousy student’s school attendance. Especially if the attendance will later be considered a failure, anyway, just because test scores didn’t go up. What kind of passive-aggressiveness is that!

    • If kids are being kept in schools until they graduate it’s already a big success. Otherwise, those kids would be hanging out on the streets getting in trouble. In big cities, kids that quit school end up in gangs most of the time.

    • In Quebec, school boards’ strategic plans include specific strategies to retain kids in schools until they graduate. Success is measured by performance in standardized exams as well as by graduation rates.

  3. Let’s see.

    If we use CCT extra people gets trained and can get better paid jobs. Even if those extra people are as good or bad as people not using CCT, you are still getting extra human capital that would not be present otherwise, right?

    The people that received the CCT and would not have studied otherwise needs to be compared also with the people that did not go to school because they lacked money. What is the impact of CCT if you measure it that way?

    • That’s a good point. They appear to be comparing the outcome to the outcome of people in a similar situation who did not receive the money. Obviously, that outcome is better than the outcome if they drop out of school. But then the marginal effect on staying in school is small as well.

      I dunno, food for thought.

      • Hard to make a policy with so much data missing, but this is a starting point to ask the right questions. Maybe the benefit is marginal compared to the same amount of money in elementary school. Or maybe there are variables that can predict success and a CCT would boost success only in those cases.

        I have seen a lot of success of CCTs, observed fisrt hand the sudden grade increase they can cause, but, of course, the plural of anecdotae is not data, and my Science Department is no the whole Venezuelan university.

  4. Well, CCTs seem a good idea, however, if the “sponsored” student has low grades then I consider that the CCT was unsucessfull. We do NOTHING keeping kids in school if when they get out they’re basically worthless (trust me, 2 younger brothers on one of the “best” schools in Maracaibo and, pardon my french, but they know jacks#it about pretty much anything you could expect from a 9th grader)

    Want CCTs? Make them like a scholarship: get X grade or better or bye bye and we’ll look someone else that will make it.

    Tough but true

  5. I’m not surprised at all, but it doesn’t change my mind even a little bit: raising standardized tests was never the point for me.

    To me the point of conditioning the Cash Transfers is purely to make direct transfers politically palatable and saleable to the broader electorate. But the point is the actual cash transfer: it’s about alleviating poverty now more than it is about alleviating poverty later. And, in particular, it’s about slowly substituting massively wasteful subsidies of stuff (gas, food, etc.) for much, much more efficient mechanisms for subsidization that don’t generate nearly as many distortions. And it’s about guaranteeing a political support base to a transition government: all plenty good enough reasons to support CCTs even if they don’t do anything to test scores in the short run.

    Tackling educational achievement is a much broader and longer term problem. You’ll need Early Childhood Education initiatives. You’ll need a real drive to get parents to read to kids, to make books part of their lives. You’ll need better teacher training and salaries, lower teacher-pupil resources, better school management. You’ll need a multi-faceted, multi-pronged, joined-up effort to tackle deeply ingrained social problems. And yes, we need to do all that.

    But it’s one thing at a time. CCTs can’t solve every problem. They can just solve some problems.

    • Yeah, the idea of a CCT is multi-faceted, and one can easily get hung up on the conditions, forgetting the cash transfer is an end in itself. Poverty reduction is worthwhile, period.

      Notwithstanding the lack of improvement in test scores (which others have rightly attributed to lack of improvement in the educational system itself), I believe there is one educational benefit regardless. By creating the expectation of school attendance, it helps create a culture of prioritizing the same. Once the system improves, more benefit will accrue. I imagine that effect is marginal, as it won’t have such an impact on many, and is certainly not worth justifying the money. But it’s at least a small bonus on top of the poverty reduction.

  6. The conclusion to me is not that CCTs are bad, but rather that schools do not deliver. CCTs deliver in terms of increasing school attendance, so they have a beneficial effect. However, if school attendance does not lead to better results in standardized test, then it is the schools that “suck”, rather than the CCTs!

    Btw, the Economist had an interesting article about a year ago about CCTs in Brazil:
    http://www.economist.com/node/16690887

    • It’s also true that schools don’t deliver, but that is out of the scope of the CCT :p

      Now, I’m a BIG fan of less schools but better schools, what are we doing graduating 40000 new bachilleres every year with 75% of them knowing nothing about anything? :p (Gustavo Coronel talks about the UBV graduating 17500 students per year, for instance)

      Sadly, the less schools but better schools equals to “los privilegiados que monopolizan la educación” so Im aware it’s a no go for a long long time :(

      • We need both: more kids in schools and better schools. That’ll only happen if there’s a point in going to school, eg. you’ll get a better job later on or, why not, you’ll get a cash transfer out of it.

        • Of course getting Cristina to talk in favor of schools is like getting the Pope to talk in favor of the Virgin Mary…

          • Kids are learning machines, beware!
            Wherever they spend their time they’ll be learning whatever there is to learn.

            • I wonder what they learn if their needy family only receives help on condition that they attend school, and what else they learn when the family stops receiving the help if they fail to beat out other kids at standardized tests.

            • If their needy family only receives help if they attend school, they’ll learn that school is important or necessary.
              Standardized test results should have nothing to do with the allocation.

            • Cristina, you’re right they’d learn it is important or necessary. But imagine the picture. A young kid living in the context of a family in economic need is suddenly pressured to go to school so that the family makes money. I know that some people thrive on that kind of pressure, but it renders others into panic. That is an unfair pressure on a kid within a household that is surely already under pressure. Some thoughtful night, this kid is going to wonder why oh why the government will only help them out in this rotten situation on a condition that puts the burden on a kid. I know I do, and I’m not even in the situation. I seems like a control thing, to begin with, and pushing it onto a kid borders on sadistic.

      • Kernel,

        The problem in Venezuela…I correct myself: one of the 23 million most important problems is the fact Venezuelans are not getting a solid basic – i mean primary and secondary school – qualification.
        You don’t solve that with less schools. What you must do is focus on schools, not universities. There are quite a lot of other tasks to see, like transparency and motivation, motivation being even more important than salaries. But of course: a teacher’s salary should allow someone to rent a small, comfortable flat in Caracas and save a wee bit.

        Right now we are giving subvensions for all to study at Universidad Simón Bolívar, UCV, UC, etc and those places are indeed, like many others, wasting a lot of money. There is no transparency whatsoever either. That must stop.
        If you ever, ever, ever want to take Venezuela from underdevelopment, you need to give just the same good solid education you got in primary and secondary school to Pedro Pacheco and Gumelcinda Pérez in El Tocuyo and Guacara. Of course: if you do that, chances are they will become a competition for your children while trying to get a position at the USB or at the faculty of engineering at the UC or UCV and that would scare the hell out of a lot privilegiados. Then they will all have to send their children to study law at the Santa María. Education basically doesn’t move forward because the privileged – upper to upper-middle before and chavista honchos now also in those positions – want to be the one-eyed in the country of the blind. That’s easier.

        See: in Germany, Flanders, Scandinavia, most of the researchers, technologists I know went to free schools in secondary cities or even in villages. They came from families that were a bit more worried with the children’s education, but only so much. They definitely did not have many more resources to provide for that education.
        Those children borrowed all their books from school and they got good teachers who did not teach them to learn by rote learning. They did not keep getting just half the curriculum because the teacher stopped going.
        Only and only when your average population has a decent education level will you ever have a chance of getting your country out of the bottom. Meanwhile the best you can expect is to be part of what lefties, rightly so, I would say, call the compradores class, who are the ones that out of heritage (they pretend out of education, but it all goes back to that) are closer to the primary resource exporting structures (like PDVSA expert or the like)

  7. Juan,
    The authors are comparing the test scores of equally disadvantaged students (one group received money to go to school and the other didn’t). Why would you expect the beneficiaries of the CCT to learn more than the other kids that went to the same schools? Does the program suck when you have 100,000-200,000 additional high school students who graduated thanks to the program and that now are in a better position to face their future?

    • I think because if one group is receiving money to go to school and the other is not, presumably the group receiving the money is getting more income, and hence has more time on their hands to learn more.

      I think the paper’s findings are interesting regardless. The “CCT sucks” is an obvious exaggeration, of course there’s some merit in the program.

  8. Absolutely! Unconditional transfer of cash to the citizens is the ticket… so much better than that unconditional accumulation of oil income in the hands of the great Indian Chief of turn.

    And, by the way, when conditionality fails, why does no one blame the condition setters?

  9. OT: Any idea how many prisoners died in the prison riot? It’s reported as over now, some deal has been reached at El Rodeo. All the news stories quote 22 dead in the initial gun battle between gangs, and then one further death of a national guard member (RIP). Are we really to believe that during the weeks long gun battle between the national guard and prisoners that no further prisoners died? REALLY? Anything more reliable in the Venezuelan press about the outcome?

    By the way, Chavez says starving the prisoners out is “an example of the supreme respect for human rights.”

      • Are you serious? It really shows how far down the rabbit hole Venezuela is that such a thing is thinkable… Chavez kicked out all the adults in the administration, Luis Miquilena seemed like a real adult, you might disagree with him but he seemed grounded. Are there any level headed people left in the government?

        Also, If you aren’t joking around with me, could you link a Spanish language article?

        • Er du fra Norge? :-) I am just joking…or so I think. I wouldn’t be surprised Venezuelan reality jokes on me, though.

          • Jeg ble født i Norge, nå er hjemmet mitt er USA (Minnesota). Thats where my wife is! There are so many Norwegians up in Minnesota its kind of like a little Mini-Norway, I saw princess Märtha Louise when she visited us back in 2006. Before I was married I had quite a Wanderlust. I have lived all over the place, Venezuela, Deutschland, Ich Spreche auch Deutsch falls Sie wollen. :-)

          • By the way, you are German richtig? Do you make your home in Germany, Venezuela, Benelux?

            Also when I was in Venezuela back in the 90s I ran into quite a few Germans, more than I do in Minnesota actually!! What’s happened with the German expat community in Venezuela since Chavez, have most of them up and left? (I don’t mean long term German Venezuelans like in Colonia Tovar, but I do also wonder now that I think of it how many of them have tried to reclaim German citizenship…)

            • No, I am Venezuelan, from Valencia Upon Cabriales. I studied in Germany, live in the Benelux. There are lots of Germans who have gone back and many more Venezuelans with or without German ancestors trying to get to Germany or in Germany. In 2008 there were officially 8000+ German passport holders registered at the German embassy in Caracas plus 10000 “Auslandsdeutsche” (although that definition is very vague, specially after Adolf died)
              Still, they tend to be rather loyal with the country, they are some of the people who fall in love the most with Venezuela.

              Hvor i Norge er du fra? Oslo? Don’t you miss like that dark-dark-dark bread that looks like a black brick? Or the fjords?

  10. Not having read the article, I guess the result could be interpreted the other way around> The CCT was effective keeping children in school, and they did catch up with the other children (the ones did not need a CCT to stay in school) in terms of standardized tests…at the end you are comparing those who stayed at school, no dropouts…My priori would have been that the CCT kids were equal to the no-CCT kids, in some sense they are proving a precondition of the program…

  11. I think they are looking at it the wrong way. First, using Standarized Testing to measure this type of things can be tricky when there are many reasons why standar tests don’t work or give certain results (https://www.msu.edu/~youngka7/cons.html)
    Second, as everyone probably has witnessed, not always the person with the best grades ends up being the most successfull later in life. But, it is proven with Venezuelan data that more years of schooling will decrease your chances of being poor. You need a high school diploma even if you want to be a janitor, so not matter if you really didn’t learn much in school the fact that you graduated will give you access to better jobs. In school you don’t only learn the subjects, you socialize in a way that prepares you to deal with authority, work with others and perform in structured environments. Exactly what you will need when you enter the workforce.
    This does not mean that CCT will solve everything, but doubting the results based on test scores seem to me shortsighted. it will take time, but someone should look at what happens with beneficiaries over a longer period of time, what happens after they graduate? Do they find jobs? Do their kids go to school and get a higher level degree? That would give you an idea of the true impact of a program like this on poverty reduction.

  12. This is Javier Baez, one of the authors of the study discussed in the article. I am so glad to see that the results from this research work are stimulating an informed discussion about the opportunities and limitations of CCTs to improve the livelihoods of program beneficiaries. Thank you for a contributing to a very interesting and candid debate in this blog.

    I would like to take advantage of this blog to make a couple of clarifications with the goal of qualifying the negative and inaccurate message conveyed by the title of the article. First, in contrast by what the author of the note argues, the findings of our work indicate that CCTs do work both in the short- and long-term. They help families to keep children in school, particularly in difficult economic times (as previous research has shown) and as result of that children can complete more years of education (something rigorously shown in our work). This, in turn, can translate into more educational opportunities, more employability and better income prospects for these children. Second, we do find that participant children perform at the same level in test scores than non-participant (but otherwise equal) children. But this can be seen as pretty good outcome for the marginal children, i.e. those who were going to be out of school in the absence of the program. More broadly, however, the evidence in regards to the lack of effects on learning outcomes suggests that CCTs need to be supplemented by other policy actions that address the quality aspects of education. As some noted above, CCTs have delivered in terms of facilitating school participation and progress (in addition to the first and foremost objective of transferring money to the poor) but they can’t and should not be expected to address all the issues that constraint the accumulation of human capital among poor households. It is very unrealistic to assume that just one instrument can solve all problems.

    Thanks,

    Javier E. Baez

    • Javier,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. As I said above, the title was an exaggeration to provoke a bit of debate. I apologize if it mis-characterized your important contributions.

      Best of luck,
      Juan

      • Juan —

        No need to apologize at all. Thanks anyways for your kind message. I very much appreciate that you are motivating this debate … and do not worry … I understand the need to use catchy headlines!

        Best,

        Javier

    • Thanks so much for the clarification Javier. Keep coming to the blog with interesting stuff we are always glad to learn more about a subject and have a clearer picture of what could work in Venezuela.

    • Javier E. Baez,

      I support CCT over other current types of social programs, though I support Unconditional CT far above Conditional CT. I find your position somewhat surprising. Until now all CCT proponents that have crossed paths with mine have stressed their requirement of the Condition as their justification for supporting Cash Transfers, which goes against a very rooted principle of theirs. Yet, you mention in your comment “the first and foremost objective of transferring money to the poor”, though in parentheses, here, and nowhere to be found at the link provided in the post. If it’s really your first and foremost objective, then why is so much of the spotlight and focus not on it? Why so much stress on the condition and measuring the effects of the condition and coming up with supplemental policy action related to the condition, and not the first and foremost objective?

      • extorres —

        If you read the study, you will see that we actually reviewed and discussed the vast existing evidence on the positive direct effects of the transfers on household welfare as measured by increases in consumption, improvements in the nutritional status of kids and reductions in poverty. The conditionality is a feature of the program that tries to encourage poor household to increase their investments in education of children by reducing the relative price of education. As theory predicts, previous empirical research has shown that this price reduction has led to an increase in the demand for education in the form of higher school enrollment and attendance. What my co-author and I wanted to investigate is whether this increase in school participation actually translates into more schooling i.e. years of education completed. The issue of the conditionality that you raised in your post is a very important one. However, whether it is worth having it in a CT program depends on the comparison of its marginal costs (e.g. significant administrative costs) and benefits (something that our research helps inform on the benefit side) and not on whether we like it or not without any solid evidence.

        Thanks,

        Javier E. Baez

        Its effectiveness in a CT program should be assessed The justification to have it or not as part of a CT program depends on the comparison between the marginal costs and benefits

        • Javier Baez,

          Thank you for your reply but I do not find the answer to my questions in it. I read your paper, and I am sure I will reread it several times. Hardly finding any mention regarding “the first and foremost objective of transferring money to the poor” I find it difficult to believe you that transferring money to the poor is, in fact, your first and foremost objective.

          What I do see in your paper, as in your comments, is repeated mention regarding the comparison between benefits and costs, yet your measure of benefits is not regarding poverty alleviation, but regarding the condition of attendance. It almost seems to me that you are putting into question, not whether to eliminate or not the condition, but whether the correct condition has been chosen.

          • Javier Baez,

            In a nutshell: do you think that a Cash Transfer under Condition of “improved scores of standardized tests” would have produced the same lack of increase in scores as it did under the Condition of “attendance”. I don’t think so, though I wouldn’t spend a dime researching it either; I would just give them the cash.

            • I find very frustrating continue discussing these issues on this blog when you continue misreading and misinterpreting the scope and findings of our study. I would advise instead that you read it very carefully contact me if there is something you do not understand. I prefer doing than bilaterally than clarifying and responding to posts that argue things that are not accurate and a bit too speculative to contribute to an informed debate about the effectiveness (or lack of) of CCTs.

  13. Reading the comments I am complete shock. Somehow after 11 years Chavez has finally managed to take over your brains and get you to think like him.

    For years I heard opponents of Chavez railing against all his “missions” and simply “giving” away money. Let a illiterate barrio dweller sit in a class, watch some Cuban video tapes, learn nothing and then get paid a bunch of money.

    Then we would hear the opposition scream “they are just using bogus programs to give out money for nothing to lazy people in the barrios simply so they will vote for Chavez – this does nothing to better peoples lives, make them better and more educated citizens, and does nothing to help the development of Venezuela.”

    Ok, after 8 long frustrating years I finally get my head out of my ass and see that is exactly what Chavez is doing, simply buying votes through “Walmart socialism” so that he can keep his ass in Miraflores indefinitely.

    And now you go and change everything on me??????

    Now I hear that the opposition thinks that the whole point is simply to give out money in order to alleviate poverty in the short term and get the broader electorate to support handing out the money (I’m confused, didn’t Chavez already get the broader electorate to support handing out money willy nilly??) and no one cares whether the recipients of that money actually a) do anything to earn it or b) gain any useful skills or education?!?!?! For years I have heard derision poured from the opposition on Chavista social programs that paid Juan Bimbo to sit outside his house and drink bear as long as he wears a red shirt.

    Now apparently, that is all well and good as long as Juan Bimbo wears a white or green or yellow shirt.

    Hah. Cancer is probably going to get Chavez out of Miraflores sooner rather than later. But obviously the cancer of the Chavista way of thinking isn’t leaving Venezuela any time soon.

    • Chávez doesn’t hand money out “willy nilly”: Chávez hands money out to people who support him politically.

      If you can’t understand the difference between Citizenship Rights and Clientelism, ‘mafraid I can’t help you.

      • “To me the point of conditioning the Cash Transfers is purely to make direct transfers politically palatable and saleable to the broader electorate. But the point is the actual cash transfer: it’s about alleviating poverty now more than it is about alleviating poverty later.”

        Yes, of course, when someone else does it it is clientism, but when you do it is simply making something “politically palatable”. That is the nice thing about being well educated – we may have he same nonsensical ideas but at least we know how to couch them in more sophisticated terms. :-)

        Anyways, at least you made Greg Wilpert’s job easier – he can just pop in Mission Robinson where you guys write Cash Transfers and presto, instant article in defense of the Missions.

    • Actually I agree with you no cash should be given to people. But after you were blogging for years on how evil we were and how good military Chávez was because he was a real nationalist, after you became a reference in English for many English speaking PFS about how great Chávez was, I reckon you should be a little bit more careful about specks on people’s eyes.

      Venezuelan children should have comedores like the one I went to as a child (in an area that is still Chavista). Teachers should be able to rent a flat in Caracas or Barinas and be able to save some – not even a physician at a public hospital can do that now. Children should have free books (on loan) from the start to the end of bachillerato.
      And they should all take part in the PISA programme and other transparency projects and each community should be able to get the information about how their schools are performing.
      And everybody should be able to check out how much many cleaning people and teachers any public school or university have and where the money is thus going. And people more than X amount should pay for going to university. And every municipio should have a public library. Most of the rest is waste.

      • Kepler, sounds like you care about education, you want students to learn. That is great. But I am afraid to tell you your very alone.

        Look at what has been written above: the point of giving out money isn’t to actually get anyone to learn anything. It’s simply to a) buy support and win elections and b) alleviate poverty in the short term.

        Does this concept seem familiar to you in the context of Venezuela over the past 12 years?

        I think either Rupert Murdoch had someone hack this blog or you are going to be very lonely here from now on.

      • BTW, you can forget about PISA with this crowd – they are every bit as against testing as the Chavistas:

        “Why is standardized test results the determining factor of success?”

        “Seems like test results is a very superficial way of measuring long-term effects. ”

        “raising standardized tests was never the point for me.”

        “Standardized test results should have nothing to do with the allocation”

        “First, using Standarized Testing to measure this type of things can be tricky when there are many reasons why standar tests don’t work or give certain results ”

        “This does not mean that CCT will solve everything, but doubting the results based on test scores seem to me shortsighted.”

        Just a few quotes from up above. You really think you are going to sell these people on PISA? Is this really any better than anything the Chavistas have said to you just because they don’t use words like “imperialist” or “yankee” or “racist”?

        • OW, I reply to you for the benefit of those who don’t know you from before.

          We are talking about standardized testing not being an appropriate measure of success *for a goal of school attendance*.

          To put it another way:

          A) paying people to go to school translates to increased school attendance
          B) paying people to go to school does not translate to increased test scores
          C) therefore, increased school attendance does not translate to increased test scores.
          D) again, test results don’t measure the success of the condition of the CT.

          So your analogy to chavismo’s not wanting the standardized tests for testing academics fails because here we’re talking about not wanting standardized tests for measuring the success of school attendance.

          Thick, thick, thick.

          • Extorres —

            With all due respect, this is an erroneous way of approaching this. Human capital is determined by various factors, school attendance being just one of them. However, as important as attending to school is the quality of teaching, having access to pedagogical inputs, the health status of children and parental time. Our study provides evidence to support the condition in the sense that jointly with the transfer, it encourages parents to keep their children in school so that a fraction of them end up having more years of education. An informed discussion about whether we should drop or keep the conditionality depends largely in the comparison of the additional costs of enforcing it vis. a vis. the benefits it generates

            • Javier Baez, I don’t think you’re even addressing to what OW and I are referring.

              OW is making an analogy between chavistas not wanting standardized testing, at all, not for measuring academics, human capital, nor anything else, and my claim that I disagree with using standardized testing as a measure of success for *attendance*. My point in my comment was that his analogy fails.

              Your comment begins by stating that I’m wrong in implying that attendance is not a single measure of human capital when I have suggested nothing of the sort. In fact, I’ve been hearing from several homeschooling groups of “unschoolers” that to them school attendance at young ages would be a measure of *loss* of human capital, so I’ve got a wide perspective on the subject. To sum up my stance on this part, I believe attendance just measures attendance; what happens with respect to human capital past attendance cannot be measured by attendance.

              Thus, a CCT, whose goal is to increase attendance, to me, can only be determined successful or not depending on whether attendance improved or not. My criticism of your study begins with your using CCT programs whose conditions were specifically regarding attendance as a basis for conclusions regarding an almost independent factor of human capital. My fear is that readers may reach the conclusion that the CCT was a failure because, as Juan Cristobal Nagel stated in his comments, the presumption is that attendance equals increased human capital. Let’s not even mention his post title, which he does not claim is sarcastic; he called it “an exaggeration”. It’s to people who make that “presumption” to whom you should address your points regarding human capital and the benefits attendance generates.

              As I pointed out earlier, my stance regarding this part is there should be *no condition*. To me, cash transfers should be equal to all with no conditions; human capital goals and efforts should be 100% independent of these cash transfers. To me, the benefits of attendance are almost irrelevant, given the benefits of cash transfers.

              I’d be more than happy to provide you with links of other studies and to further discussion regarding UCT versus CCT, here or in private. Like I stated earlier, I am willing to support CCTs insofar as they are better alternatives to other kinds of social programs, but I support UCTs far more.

        • Well, Ow, at least there is some chance with these people there would be a PISA. Half of them (I can’t talk about those here, but about those I have to deal with in Venezuela) would hinder transparency in education and stuff like that and 25% would do nothing, but at least 25% would do a lot.
          On the other side, I am sure 99.9% of Chavistas would certainly block it by all means, because of ideological reasons, because of whatever, and none would have the balls to go against the stream.

          I know Capriles talked about this project with the national authorities and with the Banco Andino de Desarrollo. That banco promised him to support this project for Miranda, but upon pressure from your nationalist “socialists” the Banco pulled back. Capriles and his team actually carried out the test for 1000 pupils all over Miranda, and that cost a lot of money, but they do not have the dollars to pay for the rest (remember: dollars are earmarked in Venezuela).

          But sure, half the population is not keen on this kind of scheme because Venezuelans are, like Herrera Luque said, parejeros, quieren emparejarse con los de arriba, no que los de abajo suban a donde ellos están.

    • In a way you’re right I myself had a change of view on the subject, but it wasn’t really Chavez that convinced me it was the blogger formerly known as torres.

      Of course what he proposes is UCTs, unconditional cash transfers for everybody and the key word here is unconditional. What Chavez does is sporadic, unsustainable, politically conditioned cash and red t-shirt transfers. Aditionally Chavez likes to “compete” with things like Mercal that instead of energizing the economy does the opposite by killing private enterprise and represent a huge waste of money as demonstrated by pudreval,

        • Ok, I think I was away when something happened here, why are you know “ex-torres”? Did you promise to change your name if there was a kid on the street after a year of being president? Oh sorry, that was another guy… :-)

          • lol No, just WordPress required that I choose a different username when they merged with Gravatar. Apparently there was another torres, can you believe?! :)

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