Philanthropy Action

Analysis, Interviews, and Reviews



Apr 23, 2008

Paying Parents to Keep Kids in School

For families living in poverty, the cost of sending a child to school can involve more than just educational fees. The “opportunity cost” of attending class—generally measured in potential wages lost as a consequence of having a child who’s in school rather than taking care of younger siblings so parents can work, or working himself—can be too great to justify the expense and delayed benefit of a formal education. To deal with this conflict governments are experimenting with conditional cash transfer programs which, in the case of education, provide incentive payments to poor families that send their kids to school.