Cash Transfers, Microentrepreneurial Activity, and Child Work: Evidence from Malawi and Zambia
Cash transfer programmes are becoming increasingly common in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. This type of social protection programme generally targets poor households, with the aim of improving food security and smoothing consumption. Evaluations have shown a range of benefits for households and their children. However, households have also used the income received through cash transfers to expand small businesses and agricultural activities, in which children commonly participate.
This article examines the impacts of two large-scale cash transfer programmes in Malawi and Zambia on child labour. Both programmes increased children’s exposure to work in agriculture that may be harmful to them, yet resulted in positive impacts on children’s school attendance and material well-being. The results demonstrate some of the complex effects of increasing incomes in agricultural areas.
This open access article by Jacobus de Hoop, Valeria Groppo and Sudhanshu Handa was published in the World Bank Economic Review in November 2019.