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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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:fpr:export:1342 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    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. repec:eee:wdevel:v:103:y:2018:i:c:p:100-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Ronald Mendoza & Nicholas Rees, 2009. "Infant Mortality During Economic Downturns and Recovery," Working papers 0904, UNICEF,Division of Policy and Strategy.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Alderman, Harold, 2014. "Can transfer programs be made more nutrition sensitive?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1342, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. 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.

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