"With their effort and one opportunity": Alleviating extreme poverty in Chile

This paper evaluates the effect of an anti-poverty program, Chile Solidario, during its first two years of operation. We exploit the exogenous geographic variation in the assignment of the program to estimate the impact of the program on a large array of socio-economic outcomes. Program impact is estimated under different empirical methods. We find that the program tends to improve education and health outcomes of the participating households, increases significantly their take-up of cash assistance programs and of social programs for housing and employment. There is no evidence that the participation to employment program translates into improved employment or income outcomes in the short term. Finally, we provide suggestive evidence of the key role that the psycho-social support had in enabling this change, by increasing awareness of social services in the community as well as households’ orientation towards the future.