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Impact of caregiver incentives on child health: Evidence from an experiment with Anganwadi workers in India

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  • Singh, Prakarsh
  • Masters, William A.

Abstract

This paper tests the effectiveness of performance pay and bonuses among government childcare workers in India. In a controlled study of 160 ICDS centers serving over 4000 children, we randomly assign workers to either fixed bonuses or payments based on the nutritional status of children in their care, and also collect data from a control group receiving only standard salaries. In all three study arms mothers receive nutrition information. We find that performance pay reduces underweight prevalence by about 5 percentage points over 3 months, and height improves by about one centimeter. Impacts on weight continue when incentives are renewed and return to parallel trends thereafter. Fixed bonuses are less expensive but lead to smaller and less precisely estimated effects than performance pay, especially for children near malnutrition thresholds. Both treatments improve worker effort and communication with mothers, who in turn feed a more calorific diet to children at home.

Suggested Citation

  • Singh, Prakarsh & Masters, William A., 2017. "Impact of caregiver incentives on child health: Evidence from an experiment with Anganwadi workers in India," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 219-231.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:219-231
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2017.07.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Singh, Prakarsh & Mitra, Sandip, 2017. "Incentives, information and malnutrition: Evidence from an experiment in India," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 24-46.
    2. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Mani, Subha & Singh, Prakarsh, 2016. "Searching for Religious Discrimination among Anganwadi Workers in India: An Experimental Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 10048, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Roman M. Sheremeta & William A. Masters & Timothy N. Cason, 2012. "Winner-Take-All and Proportional-Prize Contests: Theory and Experimental Results," Working Papers 12-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Performance pay; Malnutrition; Underweight; Child development;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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