ELLA Policy Brief: Designing an Effective Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT)

ELLA is the Evidence and Lessons from Latin America programme


Latin American countries have used specific CCT design elements – like amount of cash transfer or particular conditionalities like attending school or health check-ups – to foster investment in children’s development to reduce future poverty. But CCTs' effectiveness depends on the quality of the programme’s design, and in particular, the synergy between the chosen design and the desired objective. This brief analyses the most important CCT design elements from the Latin American experience - the target population, incentives and conditionalities, and entry and exit rules - to help other countries as they make design decisions to adapt CCTs to their own contexts.

Key Lessons:

  • Be specific about the problem to be solved and design the CCT accordingly. All design decisions must come back to the objective.
  • Good information is key, both about the local context and about families' constraints in investing in human capital. From there, creative use of design elements will help a CCT best reflect a country's specific experience and ultimately make it more successful.


Jaramillo, M. ELLA Policy Brief: Designing an Effective CCT. Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2011) 5 pp.

Published 1 January 2011