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Type Working Paper - SALDRU Working Paper Number 186 and NIDS Discussion Paper 2016/13
Title What difference does a year make? The cumulative effect of missing cash transfers on schooling attainment
Issue 186
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
South Africa's largest poverty alleviation tool, the child support grant, has benefited more than 12 million children, with many positive outcomes. However the implementation was not perfect - the means test threshold was left unadjusted for ten years, requiring a more than one hundred percent adjustment when the government finally saw fit to change the threshold in 2008. In the interim, very many children missed out on the benefits of the grant. Using exogenous changes to the age and income threshold values, this paper estimates the cumulative impact of missing grant receipt. We find that a South African child born in 1994 missed out on a year's worth of schooling compared to those born just one year later. The costs were not limited only to schooling attainment; increasing the means test threshold and rates of receipt appears to have improved maternal mental health.

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