Authors:Lindsay DuBois (Dalhousie University)
Justine Correia (Dalhousie University)
Paper short abstract:
At the core of Argentina’s conditional cash transfer program is a focus on children. This focus shapes both pragmatic concerns and moral discourses for state actors, recipients and the wider public.
Paper long abstract:
Argentina's Asignación Universal por Hijo (AUH) is an exemplary conditional cash transfer program which has demonstrated its ability to substantially reduce poverty (especially extreme poverty) in the country. Its express aim is to reduce child poverty, while also improving both school attendance and children's basic health care needs. As one journalist noted at the program's initiation, "the responsibility falls on the parents, while the beneficiary is the child" (Weinfeld). This fact has important implications in how the policy has played out both concretely for recipients and in the widespread public debate and commentary about it. The conviction that the AUH is "para los chicos" is a central element of concern. Both the parental responsibility and support for children are important elements in the programs legitimacy, even, sometimes especially for recipients themselves. Moreover, the child focus of the AUH comes to take on a moral component in participants' lives because what it means to be a good caregiver is tied to how recipients use the money they receive, and how and why they carry out the program's requirements regarding school attendance and health care requirements. These moral inferences extend beyond the pragmatic concerns of the program itself, dynamically shaping the meanings and nature of certain familial, household, and neighbourhood relations.
Policy and power in Latin America and the Caribbean