Cover: Understanding the factors that matter in the implementation of Bolsa Família

Understanding the factors that matter in the implementation of Bolsa Família

Using an analysis of federal datasets to look inside the programme's 'black box'

Published Jan 28, 2015

by Christian Van Stolk, Sunil Patil

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This report aims to promote a greater understanding of how the 'black box' of implementation in a conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme interacts with the quality of implementation. The 'black box' of implementation refers here to factors both within the programme itself and externally, all of which may influence the outcome of the programme. These include the capacity of municipalities; the supply of services; the integration of services; geography; political motivations; levels of poverty; and urban versus rural contexts.

Bolsa Família in Brazil and similar CCT programmes have been established in Latin America and other continents and countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Uganda and India. Evidence suggests that CCTs help to raise household expenditure and promote the take-up of health and education services, contributing in some cases to significant reductions in poverty rates (Fiszbein & Schady 2009; Fried 2012). Impact evaluations have increased our understanding of the relationship between the coverage of beneficiaries, targeting of households and incentive levels (level of benefits) in a CCT programme with the effectiveness of these programmes at household level (Fiszbein & Schady 2009). The supply-side appears to matter, both in terms of the quality of BF services and how they are provided. As a result, the report suggests that those designing CCTs should invest more resources in thinking about how local services are supplied, coordinated and integrated.

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The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Europe.

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