Welfare Grants and Their Impact on Child Health: The Case of Sri Lanka
Summary This paper asks whether an exogenous increase in income in the context of a poverty alleviation program has an impact on child anthropometric outcomes. The study looks at the Samurdhi Program in Sri Lanka, and uses household data for 1999/2000. Using propensity score matching to account for selectivity bias, the paper finds that Samurdhi improves the height-for-age z-score of a child from a grant-receiving family by roughly 0.40 standard deviations with the impact driven mainly by children between six, and 36 months of age, compared to if they did not receive the grant. It also improves weight-for-height z-scores by around 0.45 standard deviations of children aged 36-60 months. These results are important for Sri Lanka, where child nutrition is a cause for concern.
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