Owingto the increasing popularity of cash transfer programs on low and middle incomecountries, there is a contentful literature studying cash transfer programs andanalyzing the impact of these projects on different socio-economic areas andpopulation categories. The total number of pilot and final cash transferprojects implemented in low and middle income countries is 130 until 2016(Hagen-Zacker, Jessica, et al., 2016). During the last years, there is an alsoincrease in the studies analyzing the impact of cash transfers in parallel withincreasing in project implementation.
Various kinds of outcomes are mentionedin these studies and different results contributed to the literature. Socialsafety nets, and in particular cash transfer projects are used as an instrumentto protect needer households against poverty (Stoeffler, Mills and Patrick,2016). The results show that cash transfer projects have positive relation witheducation and increase the probability of school enrollment (Baird et al.,2013). Additionally, it is also showed that by increasing in school enrollmentcash transfers have an effect in decreasing labor force participation ofchildren (Kabeer et al., 2012). Because cash transfers to the poor householdscan be called as a positive income shock, the income level reduces the supplyof child labor by reducing the pressure of liquidity and changes thepreferences of households (Baland and Robinson, 2000). Reasons such as poorquality of education, increased costs, difficulty in subsistence andopportunity cost of education cause children to work in dangerous fields ofwork instead of studying.
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Health of children is also one of the most usedindicator in evaluating the impact of projects. Because of using differentindicators in the case of health, evidence also differ from each other inimpact evaluation. In a project implemented in Burkina Faso, evidences showthat although cash transfer enable children to have more health service uses,the same effect is not clear enough for unconditional cash transfers (Akresh etal., 2012). The main difference between unconditional andconditional cash transfers occurs in the case of setting conditions on wherebeneficiary households can spend the monetary assistance. The primary aim ofconditional cash transfer programs is to decrease poverty by giving money toneeder households in return of specifically determined conditions (Doetinchemet al., 2008) such as gaining access to maternal and child health careservices, educational payments, consumption, investment etc.
whileunconditional cash transfer programs allow households to have freedom of choiceto spend anywhere they want (Bastagli, Francesca, et al., 2016). Thesedifferences among the projects could reasonably be expected to have differentresults.Asthey are the most fragile population category, the bad effects of low-income,child labor, poverty, lack of nutrition are higher for children.
Investments inchild development influence human development indexes through changes ineducation, health, social capital and inequality (Gaag, 2000). The early yearsin the life of a child is the most important stage of a life and due to theimportance of this stage their needs have to be met in order to increase theirwell-being for the rest of the life (Merrick, 2008). Papers analyzing the case in Africa show thatincreasing opportunity cost of education change priorities of households whichin turn increase the number of childlabor (Agiogbu-Kemmer, 1992). Despite of the wide literature of cashtransfers and impact evaluation, the main contributions of this study will beas follows. First, the region where pilot social safety nets projectimplemented is one of the poorest region of the world which, in turn, meansthat if pilot project works there, it can be applicable to everywhere. There isalso lack of regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa so the paper will alsocontribute to the literature with its specifically regional focus on thepoorest region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Second, most of impact evaluation papersgenerally focus on the impact of projects on some specific socio-economicindicators such as consumption, investment, health, education or labor althoughthis paper will analyze the impact evaluation on certain population categoryfrom every aspects.
Third, most of impact evaluation studies focus onimpact of cash transfers on the condition which is set before the projectalthough this paper will make the impact evaluation of unconditional cashtransfer. In another words, it will study the impact of unconditional cashtransfers when beneficiary households have freedom of choice. This kind ofevaluation will enable us to see the results of pilot project when beneficiaryhouseholds have choice of freedom.