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Global Development Institute

WP185/2013

Antipoverty transfers and labour force participation effects

Armando Barrientos and Juan Miguel Villa

The paper examines labour market outcome effects from participation in Familias en Acción in urban areas, a conditional cash transfer programme in Colombia. There is considerable interest in the potential impact of antipoverty transfers on labour market outcomes in developing countries. The available literature finds at best very marginal effects, both positive and negative, of participation on labour market outcomes. Relying on a regression discontinuity design and a large panel dataset, the paper finds significant and largely positive effects on labour market outcomes. These effects are heterogeneous in household composition and gender, confirming that the effects of antipoverty transfers on labour supply reflect a re-organisation of household productive resources in response to the transfer.