Does money matter? The effects of cash transfers on child health and development in rural Ecuador

The authors examine how a government-run cash transfer program targeted to poor mothers in rural Ecuador influenced the health and development of their children. This program is of particular interest because, unlike other transfer programs that have been implemented recently in Latin America, receipt of the cash transfers was not conditioned on specific parental actions, such as taking children to health clinics or sending them to school. This feature of the program makes it possible to assess whether conditionality is necessary for programs to have beneficial effects on children. The authors use random assignment at the parish level to identify the program's effects.