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Conference Paper Joint Empirical Social Science Seminar

Direct and Indirect Effects of a Poverty Alleviation Program on Migration: The Case of Progresa


Publication date

08 Nov 2006


Poverty alleviation programs that target education, health and nutrition are increasingly popular amongst policymakers. Countries implementing these types of programs need to be aware that such policies could have adverse effects on non-targeted outcomes such as migration. Cash transfers may relax the budget constraint faced by the poor to migrate. This paper analyzes indirect and direct effects of a poverty program on domestic and international migration in rural communities in Mexico. Particularly, we study the impact of Progresa (renamed Oportunidades) on migration.
We apply Regression Discontinuity Design techniques to estimate the effects on two non-experimental samples. Additionally, we use simple difference-in-difference techniques to evaluate the experimental impact of the program. We use experimental and non-experimental data, as well as four different sub-samples from the same data source to estimate the effects. We find that Progresa decreases domestic and international migration on beneficiary and non-beneficiary households. Overall, the results indicate that while migration levels were increasing over the period of study, Progresa helped to slow this increase.


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