Progress against Poverty
Sustaining Mexico’s Progresa-Oportunidades Program
Progresa-Oportunidades was pioneering in its approach. It dispenses money directly to poor households--a change from the traditional method of providing subsidized necessities through intermediaries. However, those cash transfers are conditioned on specific patterns of behavior--recipients must invest in their own nutrition, health, and education. Also, Progresa-Oportunidades was designed to have a widespread, measurable, and sustained impact on various indicators of poverty. It is ambitious in scale, with a national rather than local focus, and its progress is measured through comprehensive evaluation of program operations and results.
Scholarly evaluations of Progresa-Oportunidades have been overwhelmingly positive, and it has inspired similar strategies in numerous developing nations. In addition to discussing micro- and macroeconomic dimensions of the program, Levy reveals the factors that have contributed to its sustainability, as well as the public information mechanisms supporting its implementation and the role of the evaluation process. He identifies the future challenges the program faces, such as making its incentives compatible with those of other social programs, and discusses its transferability to other countries.
Title: Progress against Poverty
Author: Santiago Levy