The Most Effective Means of Social Protection? An Evaluation of the Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Schooling and Child Labour in Peru

Tercelli, Ilaria
December 2013
Basic Income Studies;2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p173
Academic Journal
According to the Peruvian Constitution, the legal minimum age for child workers is 12 years old, making it the youngest level in Latin America and among other continents. More than 2 million children in Peru are employed in agriculture, gold mines, as domestic workers and street sellers. Peru is one of the latest countries where conditional cash transfers have been implemented in Latin America. This paper addresses the debate on conditional versus unconditional cash transfers in enhancing school attendance and consequently eradicating child labour and the broader question of targeted versus universal approaches in basic rights and income. Factors such as household's vulnerability, which can potentially lead to child labour, are highlighted. This paper also examines the method of targeting and the exclusion of groups at greater risk such as street children and single mothers. It uses recent quantitative data from the World Bank and the Peruvian government (2011) and data collected from interviews with programme executives of United Nations agencies and NGOs. It concludes that the only sustainable way to enhance the life chances of Peruvian children is to create strong mechanisms of social protection, such as basic services and income, that are available to every household.


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