Control and Accountability in Conditional Cash Transfer Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Topics and Areas for Further Improvement

Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have become flagship national social programs with increasingly broad coverage and demonstrated results. By providing cash payments to poor families that meet certain behavioral requirements (called co-responsibilities2 ), generally related to children’s health care and education, CCTs seek to alleviate poverty in the short-term while fostering human capital development in the long-term. Evidence from a number of countries shows that these programs are well targeted, reduce poverty in the poorest households, and improve the use of education and health services.

CCT programs face several distinctive implementation challenges, which require effective control and accountability mechanisms. CCTs often (i) cover a large number of beneficiaries, implying a large quantity of cash payments; (ii) are highly visible; (iii) involve shared program responsibilities across levels and departments of government; and (iv) depend on national systems for financial management, auditing, and other management processes.