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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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  • Barham, Tania, 2011. "A healthier start: The effect of conditional cash transfers on neonatal and infant mortality in rural Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 74-85, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:94:y:2011:i:1:p:74-85
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    Cited by:

    1. Teresa Molina Millán & Tania Barham & Karen Macours & John A Maluccio & Marco Stampini, 2019. "Long-Term Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfers: Review of the Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 34(1), pages 119-159.
    2. Christine Valente & Hans H. Sievertsen & Mahesh C. Puri, 2020. "Saving Neonatal Lives for a Quarter," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 20/728, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Marian Meller & Stephan Litschig, 2014. "Saving Lives: Evidence from a Conditional Food Supplementation Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(4), pages 1014-1052.
    4. Clarke, Damian & Cortés, Gustavo & Vergara, Diego, 2017. "Growing Together: Assessing Equity and Effciency in an Early-Life Health Program in Chile," Research Department working papers 1139, CAF Development Bank Of Latinamerica.
    5. Jennifer Alix-Garcia & Craig McIntosh & Katharine R. E. Sims & Jarrod R. Welch, 2013. "The Ecological Footprint of Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Mexico's Oportunidades Program," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 417-435, May.
    6. Damian Clarke & Gustavo Cortés Méndez & Diego Vergara Sepúlveda, 2020. "Growing together: assessing equity and efficiency in a prenatal health program," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(3), pages 883-956, July.
    7. Güneş Pınar Mine, 2016. "The Impact of Female Education on Teenage Fertility: Evidence from Turkey," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 259-288, January.
    8. Alderman, Harold, 2014. "Can transfer programs be made more nutrition sensitive?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1342, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Bergolo, Marcelo & Galván, Estefanía, 2018. "Intra-household Behavioral Responses to Cash Transfer Programs. Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 100-118.
    10. Panda, Pallavi, 2020. "Does trade reduce infant mortality? Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    11. Daniele Malerba, 2018. "The heterogeneous effects of conditional cash transfers across geographical clusters: do energy factors matter?," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 212018, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    12. Sonia R. Bhalotra & Alberto Diaz-Cayeros & Grant Miller & Alfonso Miranda & Atheendar S. Venkataramani, 2017. "Urban Water Disinfection and Mortality Decline in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 23239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Achyuta Adhvaryu & Anant Nyshadham & Teresa Molina & Jorge Tamayo, 2018. "Helping Children Catch Up: Early Life Shocks and the PROGRESA Experiment," NBER Working Papers 24848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Okeke, Edward N. & Abubakar, Isa S., 2020. "Healthcare at the beginning of life and child survival: Evidence from a cash transfer experiment in Nigeria," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    15. Jessica E. Todd & Paul Winters, 2011. "The Effect of Early Interventions in Health and Nutrition on On-Time School Enrollment: Evidence from the Oportunidades Program in Rural Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 549-581.
    16. repec:fpr:export:1342 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Ronald Mendoza & Nicholas Rees, 2009. "Infant Mortality During Economic Downturns and Recovery," Working papers 0904, UNICEF,Division of Policy and Strategy.
    18. Pascaline Dupas & Edward Miguel, 2016. "Impacts and Determinants of Health Levels in Low-Income Countries," NBER Working Papers 22235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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