This paper reports the impact on child schooling and work of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme (CGP), an unconditional cash transfer programme targeted to households with children aged under 3 years in three districts of the country. Although the CGP’s focus is on very young children, we look to see if the programme has impacts on older children who are not the explicit target group. We use data from a large-scale social experiment involving 2,519 households, half of whom were randomized out to a delayed-entry control group, which was implemented to assess the impact of the programme. Ex-ante analysis suggests that given the pattern of income effects and structural features of the Zambian schooling system, we would see impacts at very young ages, at the age of drop out, and little impact on child labour. Indeed, actual estimated impacts indicate that the CGP has raised school enrolment and possibly even decreased child paid labour. Programme impacts on enrolment at age 4-7 range from 5 to 6 percentage points, and larger impacts from 6 to 9 percentage points are seen for children age 11-14 years old who are transitioning to lower secondary school. An important pathway for these effects is through the purchase of school uniforms and shoes. The impacts reported here compare favorably with the ones from the CCT literature from Latin America, and lead to the conclusion that unconditional cash transfers in Africa have significant positive impacts on children’s human capital.

Sustainable Development Goals:
Related Subject(s): Children and Youth
Countries: Zambia

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  • Published online: 30 Apr 2015
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