The paper studies the effects of Familias en Acción, a conditional cash transfer program implemented in rural areas in Colombia since 2002, on school enrolment and child labor. Using a difference‐in‐difference framework, our results show that the program increased school participation of 14–17‐year‐old children quite substantially, by between 5 and 7 percentage points and had lower effects on the enrolment of younger children, in the region of 1–3 percentage points. The effects on work are largest in the relatively more urbanized parts of rural areas and particularly for younger children, whose participation in domestic work decreased by around 13 percentage points after the program, as compared to a decrease of 10 percentage points for older children in these same areas. The program had no discernible impacts on children’s work in more rural areas. Participation in income‐generating work remained largely unaffected by the program. We also find evidence of school and work time not being fully substitutable, suggesting that some, but not all, of the increased time at school may be drawn from children’s leisure time.
Economic Development and Cultural Change (2010) 58 (2) 181-210 [DOI: 10.1086/648188]