Cash Transfers and Child Outcomes
Lauren Jones (Ohio State University), Mark Stabile (INSEAD)
This paper focuses on the treatment effects of various existing programs around the English-speaking world that transfer money to families with children, either through work-based or unconditional transfers. Work-based programs are those that require labour force participation in order to qualify. Unconditional transfers simply require that children be present in the household. In Canada, the larger benefit programs targeted at families with children have been unconditional in nature. This paper shows that income support programs are an effective tool to promote child well-being. Further, while there are potentially positive gains for most families from this income support, the largest benefits are likely to be found among lower-income families. Even modest child benefits contribute to closing test score gap between the least disadvantaged and most disadvantaged children. The paper concludes that some questions about the efficacy of income supports remain. These include whether more targeted benefits had disproportionately larger effects on test scores, and whether the method benefit delivery within the context of income support programs is an important element of policy design.