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Armando Barrientos

Conditional income transfers are time-guaranteed public transfers of income and services offered to households in poverty with the objective of supplementing their consumption and facilitating human capital accumulation. The income transfers are conditional on children attending school and on household members attending primary health care, especially expectant mothers and infants. This chapter provides a primer on conditional income transfers. It shows that their rationale lies in an understanding of poverty as caused by deficits in productive capacity. This explains their core design feature: the combination of income transfers with incentives for human development. Extensive research, including impact evaluations, into the outcomes of conditional income transfers confirms they meet their objectives, with variation across countries and programmes. A brief section examines diverse practices in existing programmes and sketches their boundaries with other types of social assistance programme. An assessment of their sustainability, institutional and political, reveals their emergence as strong and innovative welfare institutions, especially in middle income countries. Their main contribution has been to demonstrate that eradicating poverty requires improving the productive capacity of low income groups, and children in particular.

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Armando Barrientos and Vidhya Unnikrishnan

In-work poverty is widespread in low- and middle-income countries. This chapter examines the relationship between in work poverty, poverty and social assistance in developing countries. Low- and middle-income countries have experienced a sharp decline in poverty and in-work poverty in the last two decades, but in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa the reduction of in-work poverty has lagged behind the decline in poverty. There is a strong correlation between in-work poverty and informality, rural location and work in agriculture. The expansion of social assistance programs in low- and middle-income countries has contributed to the decline in global in-work poverty. In theory, they could also contribute to higher in-work poverty to the extent that they encourage informal employment. High incidence of in-work poverty highlights the limitations of current development policy. In order to reduce in-work poverty it is important to share the benefits from economic growth with the disadvantaged groups. Policies aimed at sustained economic growth, investment in human development, and strengthened social protection will be effective in addressing in-work poverty.