Article by Ian Forde, Ruth Bell, and Michael Marmot in the American Journal of Public Health, August 2011 (vol. 101, no. 8).
Conditional cash transfer schemes, which use cash to incentivize uptake of basic health and educational services, are well established among social planners inlow- and middle-income countries and are now taking hold in high-income countries.
We appraised these schemes within a social determinants framework and found some encouraging signs in their first decade of operation. Success, however, has been inconsistent, and it is unclear whetherconditional cash transfer schemes can reliably secure meaningful improvements in participants’ health and nutritional status or educational attainment.
Conditional cash transfer schemes’ objectives will not be met unless they are transformed in 3 ways: transferring power as well as resources, emphasizing entitlements alongside conditionality, and avoiding the trap of incoherent or residualized policy.
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