Brief 15: Is it the cash or condition in Malawi?

Conditional cash transferCCTPayment of money conditional upon fulfillment of a requirement
Unconditional cash transferUCTMoney with no requirements
  • Many of the behavioral outcomes in the UCT arm were experienced largely among those who dropped out of school, while those who dropped out of school in the CCT arm did not receive the same effects. The study suggests that dropout may be thought of as an indicator of vulnerability for adolescent girls in this context, implying a strong perverse consequence of cutting off transfers at precisely the moment girls leave school.
  • Policymakers and organizations working on delaying marriage and parenthood should consider instituting UCT programs instead of CCTs. UCTs delayed marriage (by 44%) and childbearing (by 27%) after two years for those who dropped out of school after the start of the two-year intervention.
  • The smallest transfers given in this experiment ($1 or $4) in the CCT arm had the same average impacts for schooling across the range of transfer amounts. Policymakers and organizations considering instituting CCT programs should take this into account.
  • This experiment found that poor parents will invest at least some of the additional funds from a positive income shock towards educating their daughters. This is reflected in the fact that UCT had some positive effect on school enrollment.