PMMA-10059 Poverty and Employability Effects of Workfare Programs in Argentina


We analyze targeting and compute poverty and employability effects of workfare programs in Argentina using propensity score matching methods. (At this stage of our research) we found mixed results: On the one hand, we observe that the policy was actually pro-poor since the average participant appears to have less human capital than the average non-participant. Targeting also improved over time. More women than men received treatment, which is positive considering than women have few opportunities in the labor market. The program was effective increasing income of participants and reducing poverty particularly during treatment. After program completion, we observe that ex-participants perform worse than during treatment but better than before treatment, which is remarkable considering the deterioration of the economy. The program also increased the propensity to participate in the labor force and to find a job in the formal sector. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that at least some ex-participants improved their human and/or social capital during treatment. On the other hand, we observe that a large share of the scarce benefits was allocated to non eligible individuals. We also observe that more than half of those who entered into the program stayed for a longer time than what is established in the normative. These facts are consistent with the hypotheses that some benefits were allocated in a political-clientelar basis and that the program generated dependency among recipients. Finally, the fact that some participants were able to stay participating for more than the time established in the normative obscures the estimated positive after treatment effect. It may be that the income increases are not only due to treatment improving human and social capital of participants, but because those participants who are offered a good job in the market are the only ones that choose to leave the program. This is consistent with the claim that workfare in Argentina operated more as unemployment insurance than as a training program.


Project leader: Juan Sanguinetti

Project researchers: Ignacio Franceschelli | Sandra Fachelli

Journal publication

Authors Co-Authors Title of paper Title of Economic Review Bibliographic references
Lucas Ronconi Estimates of the Benefit Incidence of Workfare Economia

Volume 9, Number 2, Spring 2009, pp. 129-145

Working Papers

Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
Poverty and Employability Effects 2009-06-15 989.29KB 0 0

Policy Briefs

Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
Poverty and Employability Effects of Workfare Programs in Argentina 2007-09-15 22.94KB 0 0

Final report

Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
2005-11-24 297 KB 0 0


Title Modified Size Comments Recommendations
2004-09-03 328 KB 0 0

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