Silvia Espinosa

I'm a PhD student at UCL's Economics Department and a PhD Scholar at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, working under the supervision of Professor Orazio Attanasio. My work focuses on the microeconomic analysis of household behaviour in developing countries, specifically on the effects of social protection programmes in Latin America on household behaviour.

  • Applied microeconomics
  • Development economics

Household Participation in Conditional Cash Transfer Programmes: A Structural Analysis of Mexico's Urban Oportunidades

This paper studies the reasons behind the low participation in a Conditional Cash Transfer programme in Mexico (Oportunidades). In this CCT, households in poverty receive cash transfers if they comply with conditionalities intended to increase household members' human capital accumulation: children must attend school regularly, household members must have regular health check-ups, and mothers must attend a monthly lecture in their designated health centre. In order to understand participation in the programme, I take into account the benefits from school attendance and the possible extra costs of meeting the health conditionalities for working mothers by developing and estimating a dynamic structural model in which mothers simultaneously decide whether to: (i) work; (ii) send their children to school; and (iii) participate in Oportunidades. Once the structural parameters of the model have been estimated, I simulate changes to the costs and benefits of participating in Oportunidades. I find that reducing the distance mothers must travel to the health centres (thereby reducing their costs of participating) has the largest impacts on increases in programme participation, while increasing the amounts of the school grants (hence increasing the potential benefits of participating) has almost no impact on participation.