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Evidence of eligibility manipulation for conditional cash transfer programs

File Created On:
January, 2014

This paper assesses whether eligibility for conditional cash transfer programs have been manipulated, as well as the impact of this phenomenon on time allocation within households. To perform this analysis, we use data from the 2006 PNAD (Brazilian national household survey) and investigate the eligibility manipulation for the Bolsa Família (Family Stipend) program during this time period. The program assists families with a monthly per capita income of around R$120.00 (US$60.00). By applying the tests developed by McCrary (2008), we find suggestive evidence that individuals manipulate their income by voluntarily reducing their labor supply in order to become eligible to the program. Moreover, the reduction in labor supply is greater among women, especially single or divorced mothers. This evidence raises some concern about the unintended consequences related to the eligibility criteria utilized by Bolsa Família, as well as the program’s impact on individuals living in extreme poverty.