‘Institutionalizing segregation: conditional cash transfers and employment choices’

María Gabriela Palacio Ludena

Paper by ISS PhD researcher María Gabriela Palacio Ludena

Written in the context of UNU-WIDER’s series on the political economy of social protection systems, this paper considers the claims that certain forms of social protection, conditional cash transfers in particular, result in perverse incentives for recipients in order to stay eligible for receiving benefits.

In her analysis of Ecuador’s conditional cash transfer programme, the Bono de Desarrollo Humano, Palacio finds that concerns about perverse incentives appear largely misplaced. By examining broader patterns of institutionalization of occupational gender segregation, the role of cash transfers is found to be trivial to the deepening of informality and inactivity among recipients.