This paper aims to promote a greater understanding of how the ‘black box’ of implementation in a conditional cash transfer (CCT) programme interacts with the quality of implementation. The ‘black box’ of implementation refers here to programme and external factors that could impact the outcome of the programme such as: the capacity of municipalities; the supply of services; the integration of services; geography; political motivations; levels of poverty; and urban versus rural context. By taking data from federal Brazilian datasets related to these factors and administrative data on the quality of implementation from the Bolsa Familia (BF) programme, this paper models associations between the key variables. The findings suggest some nuanced findings on capacity and the nature of poverty in municipalities, which seems to suggest that overall resources are perhaps less important than the approach taken in a municipality to BF implementation. The supply-side appears to matter, both in terms of the quality of services associated with beneficiaries meeting BF conditionalities as well as how they are provided. As a result, the paper suggests that those designing CCTs should perhaps invest more in the supply of services.
van Stolk, C.; Patil, S. Understanding the quality of implementation in Bolsa Familia. (2014) 21 pp.