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Title: Intended and unintended incentives in social protection programmes : evidence from Colombia and Mexico
Author: Espinosa, S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 372X
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis presents an analysis of Social Protection programmes in Colombia and Mexico, and of the way in which they may create incentives for certain types of individual and household behaviour. The first chapter uses a Regression Discontinuity Design to study whether the structure and targeting of the health component of the Colombian welfare system incentivises workers to join the informal labour market. The findings suggest that being eligible to non-contributory health increases the probability of being informal by about 12 percentage points for male heads of household, while being covered by non-contributory health increases it by around 70 percentage points. The second chapter studies how households respond to changes in the benefits of social protection programmes by evaluating the impact of modifying the school grants in the Mexican Conditional Cash Transfer programme Oportunidades. I use data on a randomised control trial which eliminated grants for primary school, increased grants for lower and higher secondary school by 25%, and included a bonus for school attainment. The findings show some unintended decreases in primary school enrolment, and unexpected decreases in school enrolment of 13 to 18 year old boys. However, the school grants increased enrolment for older girls, as would have been expected. Althoug I find that the changes in the delivery of the grants decreased food expenditure for some households, I find no evidence of perverse effects on food security. The final chapter develops and estimates a dynamic structural model to understand the determinants of participation in Mexico's urban Oportunidades. In the model, households make choices on Oportunidades participation, children's school attendance and maternal labour supply taking into account the costs and benefits of complying with the programme conditionalities. I use the model to evaluate two policies that could incentivise participation in Oportunidades: decreasing the time spent travelling to the health centres (which decreases the costs of complying with the health conditionalities), and increasing the school grants (which increases the benefits of complying with the education conditionalities). I find that the largest increase in participation results from the first policy, which increases participation in Oportunidades by up to 15 percentage points.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available