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ERIC Number: ED562535
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
The Impact of an Unconditional Cash Transfer on Early Child Development: The Zambia Child Grant Program
Seidenfeld, David; Prencipe, Leah; Handa, Sudhanshu; Hawkinson, Laura
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Little research has been conducted on unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) despite their growing prevalence in Africa, including South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Lesotho, and Uganda. In this study, researchers implemented a randomized control trial with over 2,500 households to investigate the impact of Africa's child grant program on a range of protective and productive outcomes. The participants include over 3,000 children aged 3-7, one of the largest longitudinal samples of young children in a cash transfer evaluation, which allows researchers to estimate effects of the program on early childhood development (ECD) outcomes. The study includes a number of ECD indicators such as availability of learning materials, adult support for learning and school readiness, non-adult care, and pre-school attendance, with this study being the first time these indicators are studied in an evaluation of a cash transfer program in Africa. Researchers selected ECD indicators from UNICEF's Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). Program impacts on individuals and households are estimated using a differences-in-differences (DD) statistical model that compares change in outcomes between baseline and follow-up, and between treatment and control groups. Findings reveal that the program increases the number of households with three or more books by 1.5 percentage points, from 1.5 percent of households to three percent of households. This effect holds for all subgroups except for small households. Children who grow up in households where books are available are likely to receive, on average, three more years of schooling than children from homes with no books. This relationship holds regardless of a caregiver's level of education, occupation or class, and it applies to rich and poor countries alike. However, the program has no effect on those who do not own any books prior to receiving the grant. For the full sample, the CGP impacts the child's ability to follow directions by 10.5 percentage points, with 65 percent of children in beneficiary households following directions. This study suggests that there is reason to believe that UCTs can affect early child development, and that more research should pursue this line of inquiry.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Zambia