We conducted a randomized evaluation of a cash transfer program in Morocco to estimate the impact on attendance and enrollment of a “labeled cash transfer” (LCT): a small cash transfer made to parents of school-aged children in poor rural communities, not conditional on school attendance but explicitly labeled as an education support program. We partnered with the Government of Morocco to evaluate the Tayssir program, a two-year pilot designed to increase student participation in primary school. Tayssir, which means “facilitation” in Arabic, made cash payments to parents in program communities with children aged 6 to 15. Parents had to formally enroll each of their children into the program. The pilot took place in 318 rural primary school sectors (a school sector includes a “main” primary school unit and several “satellite” school units, four on average) in the poorest areas within five of Morocco’s sixteen regions. The Tayssir pilot included two versions of the program:
1) Labeled cash transfer (LCT): In this version of the program, families with children of primary school age could receive transfers whether or not their children attended school. In practice, since enrollment in the Tayssir program happened at schools, children enrolled in Tayssir were automatically registered and enrolled in school at the same time, but the transfers were not conditional on continued enrollment. The monthly amount per child increased as each child progressed through school, starting from 60 MAD (US$8) for each child in grades 1 and 2 and increasing to 100 MAD (US$13) for children in grades 5 and 6. The average transfer amount represented about 5 percent of the average household’s monthly consumption, which is small compared to a range of 6 to 25 percent for existing CCTs in middle-income countries.
2) Conditional cash transfer (CCT): In this version of the program, cash transfers were disbursed to parents of primary school-age children, as long as their child did not miss school more than four times each month. The monthly transfer amounts were the same as those in the LCT program.
In order to determine if the effectiveness of the transfers depended on the gender of the parent who received the transfer (the child's mother or father), mothers—the recipients in almost all CCT programs to date—received the transfers in half of the school sectors sampled for Tayssir; while fathers received the transfers in the other half. Each school sector sampled for the study was randomly assigned to one of five groups:
1) LCT issued to fathers: This group included 80 communities from 40 school sectors.
2) LCT issued to mothers: This group included 80 communities from 40 school sectors.
3) CCT issued to fathers: This group included 180 communities from 90 school sectors.
4) CCT issued to mothers: This group included 180 communities from 90 school sectors.
5) Comparison group: This group of 120 communities from 60 school sectors were sampled to receive no transfers.