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Cash transfer programmes on children’s outcomes: evidence from developing countries

O.N. Awojobi


This review evaluated the impact of conditional and unconditional cash transfer programmes on child development. The systematic search was conducted electronically with the aid of Google search engine, using these key search words - “cash transfers”, “child health”, “child development”, “child marriage” and “child labour”. Studies that used Randomised Control Trails (RCTs) and quasi-experiments, as well as studies that reported cash transfers and child development outcomes such as school enrolment, attendance, test score, child work, child health and nutrition and cognitive development were included. Data on social programmes, target population, methodological quality and study results were extracted with the aid of a standard form. The seven studies that met the inclusion criteria were two from Africa, two from Asia and three from Latin America. Six studies reported on the impact of cash transfers and educational outcomes, three on child labour and three on child health and cognitive development. Strong evidence showed that cash transfers enhanced child development on different variables, but evidence regarding child marriage was inconclusive. These results demonstrated the importance of cash transfers in enhancing the development of children living in poor households, while also offering some protection against children vulnerability in developing countries.

Keywords: Cash transfers, Conditional cash transfers, children, systematic review, unconditional cash transfers