Progresa and its Impact on School Attendance : Disparities between Mexican rural and urban areas
The aim of this paper is to analyze the impact of a conditional cash transfer program, Progresa, on school attendance in Mexican rural and urban areas. Within recent years, conditional cash transfer programs have become one of the most accepted remedies for poverty alleviation in many countries. Progresa was developed as an economic experi-ment, with randomized selection process, treatment groups and control croups. For this reason, the impact of Progresa is ideal for economic analysis. There are clear evidence of disparities between urban and rural school attendance rates in Mexico, hence the pro-gram’s effect on school attendance rates have been studied in the two regions. There are several reasons why one would expect different outcomes of the program on school at-tendance in rural and urban areas. Expected returns to education and the opportunity cost of investment in schooling in different regions are thought to affect the household’s optimization problem differently. The impact of Progresa on school attendance rates is estimated by a logit regression model analyzing household data within the household optimization framework. Mainly, Progresa has a positive impact on children’s school at-tendance. However, it may be concluded that Progresa has no significant effect for older children in rural areas. This result is assumed to be explained by the different conditions poor families face in different regions. If rural households’ optimization problem indeed looks different; this might suggest that the design of conditional cash transfer programs such as Progresa is crucially important depending on the region of implementation.
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