Back to the drawing board?: developing human capital in Latin America through conditional cash transfer programs

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(Project) M.A.
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Conditional Cash Transfer programs (CCTs) are widely supported as an effective strategy to reduce poverty. CCTs provide cash to motivate poor households to invest in human capital development. Implemented extensively in Latin America, CCT represent hope for expanding the benefits of education to previously excluded groups with the ultimate goal of breaking the cycle of poverty. This paper concludes that CCTs, alone, cannot achieve this. An examination of CCT design reveals deficiencies based on a limited view of both poverty and education. It is argued that CCTs are part of the answer but will need to be complemented by other interventions such as improvements to quality of education and opportunities for employment. The analysis concludes that an integrated strategy based on a broad understanding of poverty will maximize the effectiveness of CCTs in achieving the long-term goal of breaking the poverty cycle.
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