IAS Speaker Series: Professor Jim McGuire

Obstacles to Takeup: Ecuador's Conditional Cash Transfer Program, the Bono de Desarrollo Humano

Professor Jim McGuire from Wesleyan University shared the conclusions he—and Wesleyan graduate Chloe S. Rinehart—discovered regarding Ecuador’s conditional cash transfer program, the Bono de Desarrollo Humano. With the incorporation of ethnographic fieldwork as well as social, political, and statistical analysis, the research Professor McGuire presented attracted students and faculty from a variety of academic fields. The primary conclusions of the study revealed the large negative influence that travel costs, identity stigma, and distrust of the government have on the rate at which qualifying Ecuadorians accept the $50/month benefit that the Bono Desarrollo Humano offers them. In the midst of many studies of Latin American conditional cash transfer programs, Professor McGuire and Rinehart’s study was a necessary step away from focusing solely on the effectiveness of such programs and toward analyzing their rates of uptake. After all—as he emphasized—even if the programs are effective, they are ultimately failing if those most in need are not accepting them.