Long-Term Study of PROSPERA on Intergenerational Occupational Mobility

Two decades after the inception of Mexico's conditional cash transfer program, PROSPERA, this study analyzes the intergenerational occupational mobility and occupational attainment of a group of rural beneficiary youths between ages 18 and 35 years, segmented into subgroups by sex, ethnic background and migratory status. Furthermore, it evaluates if a higher intensity of PROSPERA's treatment increases the equality of labor opportunities for the youths. Half of the youths achieved upward mobility relative to their occupation of origin, but, at the same time, there also was a high probability of having an occupation in a lower stratum of the occupational hierarchy, experiencing high occupational inheritance and barriers to climbing the social ladder. The variables related to social origin have a significant correlation with the occupational destinations of the youths, although their education, first occupation and cognitive abilities are factors that, altogether, have a greater weight and may reduce the effect of social origins on occupational destinations. Women and migrants present the highest rates of upward mobility and greater equality in labor opportunities, compared to men and non-migrants, respectively. No differences due to ethnicity were found. The findings on the effects of PROSPERA suggest that higher levels of treatment intensity may generate greater probabilities of better occupations, although this effect is considered modest. The results are only valid for the analyzed subpopulation and reflect a reduced difference in the treatment intensity, which must not be considered as the complete effect of the program's intervention.