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Katie Timmerman

This paper was enjoyable because it is optimistic and persuasive on the topic of the benefits to investing in human capital through conditional cash transfers. I was surprised by a number of the results, however, including the insignificance of increases in labor earnings for young adult males who received the cash transfers. On the other hand, women see much stronger effects of cash transfers on labor market outcomes, which corroborates our past readings/discussions about the higher returns to investing in female human capital. Still, why should there be insignificance in certain male returns? And how might that result vary by country? Since conditional cash transfers occur in other countries like the U.S., a similar study carried out elsewhere would be interesting to compare to Mexico. The explanation of the identification strategy was definitely hard to work through, and I'm still not clear on the endogeneity issues of enrollment intensity and migration. How would these bias the results? Overall, a good read with a really good message.

carrie morrison

The paper was interesting due to the fact it gave insight into the long-term impacts about conditional cash transfer programs. One aspect I found interesting was that they gave the money from the programs to the mothers. Due to the typical family structure, I was expecting the money to be given to the father or placed in his bank account. However, as mentioned by some of my peers, giving the money to the mother may be due to the mother being better equipped to allocate the funds for the betterment of the household. However, this makes me wonder why they decided to make the mothers responsible for that money? From my understanding the program is designed to give an incentive for parents to invest in their children to increase human capital levels, so where the money is spent should not really be an issue. So, I find it interesting that the program made this decision, and wonder what lead to it. Another aspect I was curious about was the unconditional vs conditional programs that were mentioned at the end. My initial reaction is that the unconditional programs will not be as effective, as families will be able to collect money and have their children not attend school. Except, maybe with a larger income flow there will be less of a need for children to work and they effectiveness will not be impacted. It would be interesting to see more data on unconditional cash transfer programs.

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