Journal Article

The Journal of Development Studies 52

Accessing the ‘Right’ Kinds of Material and Symbolic Capital: the Role of Cash Transfers in Reducing Adolescent School Absence and Risky Behaviour in South Africa

Published on 4 May 2016

This article investigates how well South Africa’s Child Support Grant (CSG) responds to the material and psychosocial needs of adolescents, and the resultant effects on schooling and risky behaviour. One driver of schooling decisions is shame related to poverty and the ‘social cost’ of school, where a premium must often be paid for fashionable clothes or accessories. The other driver relates to symbolic and consumptive capital gained through engaging in sexual exchange relationships.

The anticipated impacts from the CSG are partial because of these non-material drivers of adolescent choices. Non-material transmission mechanisms must be better understood and addressed.


Stephen Devereux

Research Fellow

Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

Research Fellow

Publication details

Adato, M., Devereux, S. and Sabates-Wheeler, R.
The Journal of Development Studies, volume 52, issue 8


About this publication

Programmes and centres
Centre for Social Protection
South Africa

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