Beneficiary dynamics in the Bolsa Familia Conditional Cash Transfer. Capabilities, constraints and the local labor market

Bolsa Familia (BF) is one of the earliest established poverty-targeted conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs in the world, and, over time, it has experienced a large and heterogenous churn in beneficiaries. The program is among the few CCTs in developing countries that frequently reassess eligibility via household income test: this allows to study the factors associated with exit from social assistance at the individual, family, and community levels. We follow a cohort of 105,000 families—90 percent women- headed—who joined the program in 2012 and construct a panel of three administrative data sets (the social registry, benefit payroll, and the formal labor market registry) over eight years. The analysis shows that the duration of stay in the program ranges from less than three years for about one-quarter of families to more than seven years for nearly half of families.