The Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Nutrition: The South African Child Support Grant
AbstractIn light of research that has argued that the income elasticity of nutrition is low, the goal of a new generation of cash transfer programmes to boost the nutrition of poor families' children may seem surprising. This observation applies especially to South Africa's unconditional Child Support Grant (CSG), in which cash grants are made to families with no strings attached. However, in contrast to the market-generated income increases that identified low nutritional elasticities in the earlier studies, the income increases generated by the South African cash transfers are almost exclusively assigned to women. Taking advantage of a slow programme rollout that created exogenous variation in the extent of CSG treatment received by beneficiaries in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, this Working Paper utilizes the continuous treatment method of Hirano and Imbens (2004) to estimate the impact of these transfers on child nutrition as measured by child height-for-age. Large dosages of CSG treatment early in life are shown to significantly boost child height. Drawing on the best estimates in the literature, these estimated height gains in turn suggest large adult earnings increases for treated children and a discounted rate of return on CSG payments of between 160 per cent and 230 per cent.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth in its series Working Papers with number 39.
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by UNDP - International Poverty Centre, September 2007, pages 1-28
Nutrition; cash transfers; continuous treatment estimator; South Africa; poverty;
Other versions of this item:
- Jorge M. Aguero & Michael R. Carter & Ingrid Woolard, 2006. "The Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Nutrition: The South African Child Support Grant," SALDRU Working Papers 8, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
- C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
- D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Subramanian, Shankar & Deaton, Angus, 1996.
"The Demand for Food and Calories,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 133-62, February.
- Joshua D. Angrist, 1998.
"Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants,"
Econometric Society, vol. 66(2), pages 249-288, March.
- Joshua D. Angrist, 1995. "Estimating the Labor Market Impact of Voluntary Military Service Using Social Security Data on Military Applicants," NBER Working Papers 5192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Blundell, Richard & Costa Dias, Monica, 2008.
"Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics,"
IZA Discussion Papers
3800, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
- Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2002. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP10/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Richard Blundell & Mónica Costa Dias, 2008. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," CEF.UP Working Papers 0805, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
- Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2008. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP26/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2001. " Child Growth in the Time of Drought," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(4), pages 409-36, September.
- Behrman, Jere R & Deolalikar, Anil B, 1987. "Will Developing Country Nutrition Improve with Income? A Case Study for Rural South India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 492-507, June.
- John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998.
"Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
- Thomas, D. & Strauss, J., 1997.
"Health and Wages: Evidence on Men and Women in Urban Brazil,"
97-05, RAND - Reprint Series.
- Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John, 1997. "Health and wages: Evidence on men and women in urban Brazil," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 159-185, March.
- Schady, Norbert & Araujo, Maria Caridad, 2006. "Cash transfers, conditions, school enrollment, and child work : evidence from a randomized experiment in Ecuador," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3930, The World Bank.
- 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.
- Bouis, Howarth E. & Haddad, Lawrence J., 1992. "Are estimates of calorie-income fxelasticities too high? : A recalibration of the plausible range," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 333-364, October.
- Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2007.
"Cognitive Development among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health, and Parenting,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
- Paxson, Christina & Schady, Norbert, 2005. "Cognitive development among young children in Ecuador : the roles of wealth, health and parenting," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3605, The World Bank.
- Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2005. "Cognitive Development Among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health and Parenting," Working Papers 239, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
- Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
- Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004.
"The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1019-1053, October.
- Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2004. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," NBER Working Papers 10522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Nicola Persico & Andrew Postlewaite & Dan Silverman, 2003. "The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-036, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
- Stephan Klasen, 1997. "Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in South Africa: An Analysis of the 1993 SALDRU Survey," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 51-94, July.
- Guido W. Imbens, 2003.
"Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review,"
NBER Technical Working Papers
0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
- Jere R. Behrman & Yingmei Cheng & Petra E. Todd, 2004. "Evaluating Preschool Programs When Length of Exposure to the Program Varies: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 108-132, February.
- Murray Leibbrandt & Ingrid Woolard, 1999. "A comparison of poverty in South Africa's nine provinces," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 37-54.
- Lawrence Haddad & Harold Alderman & Simon Appleton & Lina Song & Yisehac Yohannes, 2003. "Reducing Child Malnutrition: How Far Does Income Growth Take Us?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 107-131, June.
- World Bank, 2006. "Repositioning Nutrition as Central to Development : A Strategy for Large Scale Action," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7409, October.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Andre Lyra).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.