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The impact of the JUNTOS conditional cash transfer programme on foundational cognitive skills: Does age of enrollment matter?

Douglas Scott (), Jennifer Lopez (), Alan Sánchez () and Jere Behrman
Additional contact information
Douglas Scott: University of Oxford
Jennifer Lopez: Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE)
Alan Sánchez: Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE)

PIER Working Paper Archive from Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between the age of enrolment in Peru’s conditional cash transfer programme, JUNTOS, and the foundational cognitive skills of a sample of children aged between 5 and 12 years old. Using a difference-in-differences approach and exploiting within-household variation, we show that younger siblings in recipient households display significantly higher levels of inhibitory control than their older counterparts (0.11 standard deviations), having benefited from the programme for the first time at a relatively earlier age. In high-income countries, this behavioural trait has been linked to later-life outcomes such as job success, physical health, and even reduced risk of criminality. Conversely, we find little evidence that enrolment age is associated with long-term memory, working memory, or implicit learning. Employing a threshold estimator, we show that relative gains in inhibitory control are most clearly defined where a child benefits from the programme before they reach 80 months of age (6.7 years). In an extension to our main results, we then conduct mediation analysis, demonstrating that a small but meaningful proportion of this benefit (6.5%) operates through changes in the probability of the child’s timely entry into primary school.

Keywords: Cognitive skills; JUNTOS; conditional cash transfer; Peru; inhibitory control (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 54 pages
Date: 2022-09-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev, nep-lam, nep-lma and nep-neu
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

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