Document Type

Honors Project

Comments

The author would like to express gratitude to Amy Damon for her hours of patience, guidance and wisdom throughout the completion of this project. The author is also grateful to Raymond Robertson for his support, enthusiasm and editing advice. Finally, many thanks to the 2010 Macalester College Honors students for their community, friendship and support.

Abstract

Across Latin America, conditional cash transfer programs (CCTs), in which governments pay poor families conditional on their children attending school, have successfully increased enrollment and attendance rates. No empirical evidence supports the need for costly conditionality, however, and I compare the effect of Nicaraguan unconditional remittances to the effect of CCTs to determine which more strongly influences educational investment. I test the outcomes of school enrollment and attendance and find that unconditional transfers more strongly impact enrollment, while conditional transfers more strongly increase attendance.

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