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A healthier start: The effect of conditional cash transfers on neonatal and infant mortality in rural Mexico

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  • Barham, Tania

Abstract

Conditional cash transfer programs seek to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by building the human capital of poor children. Despite their popularity throughout the developing world, relatively little is known about their effect on children's health outcomes. This paper evaluates the impact of the Mexican conditional cash transfer program, Progresa, on two important health outcomes: infant and neonatal mortality. It exploits the phasing-in of Progresa over time throughout rural Mexico to identify the impact of the program. The paper shows that Progresa led to a large 17% decline in rural infant mortality among the treated, but did not reduce neonatal mortality on average. The benefit-cost ratio is between 1.3 and 3.6. Tests for heterogeneity show larger declines for some groups including those municipalities whose pre-program levels of mortality were above the median, and those that prior to the program had higher illiteracy rates, and less access to electricity.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 74-85

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:94:y:2011:i:1:p:74-85

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Keywords: Infant mortality Neonatal mortality Conditional cash transfers Mexico Impact evaluation Demand incentive;

References

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  1. Jere R. Behrman & John Hoddinott, 2005. "Programme Evaluation with Unobserved Heterogeneity and Selective Implementation: The Mexican "PROGRESA" Impact on Child Nutrition," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(4), pages 547-569, 08.
  2. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
  3. Matias D. Cattaneo & Sebastian Galiani & Paul J. Gertler & Sebastian Martinez & Rocio Titiunik, 2009. "Housing, Health, and Happiness," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 75-105, February.
  4. W. Kip Viscusi & Joseph E. Aldy, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," NBER Working Papers 9487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:wbk:wbpubs:12426 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. World Bank, 2005. "World Development Indicators 2005," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 12425, February.
  7. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Guy Stecklov & Paul Winters & Jessica Todd & Ferdinando Regalia, 2006. "Demographic Externalities from Poverty Programs in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Latin America," Working Papers 2006-01, American University, Department of Economics.
  9. repec:reg:wpaper:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Anne Case, 2004. "Does Money Protect Health Status? Evidence from South African Pensions," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 287-312 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Paul Gertler, 2004. "Do Conditional Cash Transfers Improve Child Health? Evidence from PROGRESA's Control Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 336-341, May.
  13. Barham, Tania & Maluccio, John A., 2009. "Eradicating diseases: The effect of conditional cash transfers on vaccination coverage in rural Nicaragua," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 611-621, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Ronald Mendoza & Nicholas Rees, 2009. "Infant Mortality During Economic Downturns and Recovery," Working papers 0904, UNICEF,Division of Policy and Strategy.
  2. Alderman, Harold, 2014. "Can transfer programs be made more nutrition sensitive?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1342, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Alix-Garcia, Jennifer M. & McIntosh, Craig & Sims, Katharine R. E. & Welch, Jarrod R., 2010. "The Ecological Footprint of Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Mexico's Oportunidades Program," Staff Paper Series 549, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  4. repec:fpr:export:1342 is not listed on IDEAS

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