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Title: The design, implementation and impact of conditional cash transfers targeted on the poor : an evaluation of Brazil's Bolsa Família
Author: Bastagli, Francesca
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 8378
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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The thesis analyses conditional cash transfers (CCTs) as a category of public policy tools, using Brazil's national Bolsa Familia as a case study. CCTs typically pay monetary transfers to the poor, provided they follow a specific course of action. They share a common structure of three components: a cash transfer, targeting mechanism and conditionality. In recent years, CCTs have experienced a remarkable expansion as countries, particularly in Latin America, have introduced them as key components of their poverty reduction strategies. In Brazil, the Bolsa Familia reform was launched in 2003, consolidating four existing national programmes into a single targeted cash transfer that would gradually reach 24% of Brazil's population (44 million people), making it one of the world's largest public cash transfers to the poor. The thesis identifies three motivations underlying the introduction of CCTs - political, administrative and well-being outcomes - and uses these as lenses of analysis of the Bolsa Familia. Firstly, based on a review of official documents and on interviews with politicians and public officials in Brasilia, it identifies the Bolsa Familia's design features and policy objectives. Secondly, it asks, how does Bolsa Familia implementation compare with official national policy regulation? Is it achieving intended administrative objectives? Based on an analysis of administrative data and on interviews with municipal Bolsa Familia administrators in five municipalities in the state of Minas Gerais, the thesis explores national programme implementation as well as variations in the day-to-day administration of the programme at the municipal level. Using nationally representative household survey micro-data, the thesis then analyses the Bolsa Famlia's distributional and poverty impact. It provides a detailed targeting analysis uncovering. the determinants of programme participation and trajectories of exclusion. Finally, the thesis investigates the programme's potential effect on long-term well-being outcomes by testing the association between Bolsa Familia receipt and beneficiary behaviour for two groups of people and sets of activities: school-aged children and school attendance and adult heads of household and work participation. The thesis makes two main contributions. Paying close attention to the Bolsa Familia's income, targeting and conditionality components and using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods and multiple information sources, it generates evidence on the programme's implementation and impact. Drawing from the Brazilian experience furthermore, it contributes to the broader' debate on CCTs, pointing to the limitations and potentials of such policy tools taking into account variations in programme design and implementation as well as their positioning within the broader welfare state.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available