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Effect of Ecuador's cash transfer program (Bono de Desarrollo Humano) on child development in infants and toddlers: A randomized effectiveness trial

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  • Fernald, Lia C.H.
  • Hidrobo, Melissa

Abstract

We examined the effects of Ecuador's Bono de Desarrollo Humano (BDH) - an unconditional cash transfer program that was rolled-out using a randomized design - on health and development outcomes in very young children. Communities that were randomly assigned to the treatment group began receiving the BDH in 2004 and those randomly assigned to the comparison group began receiving benefits two years later. Families enrolled in the BDH received a monthly cash stipend ($15USD) representing an approximate 6-10% increase in household income. Participants analyzed in this study are children aged 12-35 months from treatment (n = 797) and comparison (n = 399) communities in rural and urban Ecuador. Main outcomes measured were language skills (the Fundación MacArthur Inventorio del Desarollo de Habilidades Comunicativas - Breve), height-for-age z-score, and hemoglobin concentration. Results indicate that in rural areas, being randomized to receive the BDH in very early childhood led to significantly better performance on the number of words a child was saying, and on the probability that the child was combining two or more words. There were no significant effects on language development for children in urban areas and there were no effects on height-for-age z-score or hemoglobin concentration in rural or urban areas. A limited number of potential pathways with respect to cognitive/language stimulation, health behaviors, and parenting quality were also explored. Findings indicate that compared to children in comparison areas, rural children in treatment areas were more likely to have received vitamin A or iron supplementation and have been bought a toy in the past six months. This study provides evidence for significant benefits of an unconditional cash transfer program for language development in very young children in rural areas.

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  • Fernald, Lia C.H. & Hidrobo, Melissa, 2011. "Effect of Ecuador's cash transfer program (Bono de Desarrollo Humano) on child development in infants and toddlers: A randomized effectiveness trial," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(9), pages 1437-1446, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:9:p:1437-1446
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nabernegg, Markus, 2012. "El impacto del BDH en el gasto de bienes no deseados: Un análisis de regresión discontinua
      [The impact of the Bono de Desarrollo Humano in the expenditure for undesirable goods: A regression discon
      ," MPRA Paper 41295, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Marta Rubio-Codina & María Caridad Araujo & Orazio P. Attanasio & Sally Grantham-McGregor, 2016. "Concurrent Validity and Feasibility of Short Tests Currently Used to Measure Early Childhood Development in Large Scale Studies: Methodology and Results," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 95556, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Alderman, Harold, 2014. "Can transfer programs be made more nutrition sensitive?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1342, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Daniela Del Boca & Christopher Flinn & Matthew Wiswall, 2012. "Transfers to Households with Children and Child Development," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 273, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    5. Bernal, Raquel & Fernández, Camila, 2013. "Subsidized childcare and child development in Colombia: Effects of Hogares Comunitarios de Bienestar as a function of timing and length of exposure," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 241-249.
    6. M. Caridad Araujo & Mariano Bosch & Norbert Schady, 2017. "Can Cash Transfers Help Households Escape an Inter-Generational Poverty Trap?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Asset Accumulation and Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Schady, Norbert, 2012. "Cash transfers and anemia among women of reproductive age," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 887-890.
    8. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:63-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:498-517 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Melissa Hidrobo, 2014. "The Effect of Ecuador's 1999 Economic Crisis on Early Childhood Development," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(4), pages 633-671.
    12. repec:wbk:wbpubs:26490 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:socmed:v:193:y:2017:i:c:p:101-109 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Hidrobo, Melissa & Fernald, Lia, 2013. "Cash transfers and domestic violence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 304-319.
    15. Lara Cockx & Nathalie Francken, 2016. "Evolution and Impact of EU Aid for Food and Nutrition Security: A Review," FOODSECURE Working papers 47, LEI Wageningen UR.
    16. M. Caridad Araujo & Mariano Bosch & Norbert Schady, 2017. "Can Cash Transfers Help Households Escape an Inter-Generational Poverty Trap?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Katz, Benjamin & Chaffin, Josh & Alon, Inbal & Ager, Alastair, 2014. "Livelihoods, economic strengthening, child protection and well-being in Western Uganda," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(P2), pages 149-156.
    18. Nicola Brandt, 2012. "Reducing Poverty in Chile: Cash Transfers and Better Jobs," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 951, OECD Publishing.
    19. Perkins, Jessica M. & Kim, Rockli & Krishna, Aditi & McGovern, Mark & Aguayo, Victor M. & Subramanian, S.V., 2017. "Understanding the association between stunting and child development in low- and middle-income countries: Next steps for research and intervention," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 101-109.
    20. Rebecca Ray & Sara Kozameh, 2012. "Ecuador’s Economy Since 2007," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2012-14, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

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