A Comparative Study Of The Child Support Grant And Bolsa Família Cash Transfer Programs In South Africa And Brazil

Reece, Francesca G.
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This thesis examines the Bolsa Família and Child Support Grant cash transfer programs in Brazil and South Africa along two aspects: children’s educational attainment and health outputs. Drawing on available statistical information and impact studies by other scholars, metrics for the aspects above are analyzed to determine where and why adjustments to either program design or state capacity are needed to accomplish each program’s respective goals. The primary conclusion for Brazil’s Bolsa Família program is that—despite widespread and replicable successes within each aspect—numerous adjustments to program design are needed to standardize opportunities for success, particularly for participants in rural, isolated geographic regions. For South Africa’s Child Support Grant program, a major overhaul of state capacity is long overdue. Supply-side issues in program administration fundamentally disrupt the program and inhibit its goal of producing a healthy, educated workforce with long-term economic development potential. Overall, Brazil’s program provides a reliable, fixable, and feasible model for South Africa and other countries with similar demographics and development levels to draw on in adjusting the program design of their cash transfer programs. However, without adequate state capacity for carrying out such changes, South Africa’s program will continue to fall far short of the expectations set by Brazil’s.