Evidence of Intrahousehold Flypaper Effects from a Nutrition Intervention in Rural Guatemala
Programs designed to improve child nutrition are widespread. The ability of such programs to improve the nutrition of individual children depends on how households choose to allocate resources among their members; interventions that target specific individuals in a household may be neutralized by reallocations of the resource away from the child. On the other hand, the transfer may not be reallocated away, a phenomenon called the intrahousehold "flypaper effect" because the transfer "sticks" to the child. This article contributes to the literature on flypaper effects using data from a nutrition intervention fielded in rural Guatemala. In this study, villages were randomly assigned to receive either a calorie and protein-dense drink called atole or a control beverage, fresco. All village members were eligible to consume these drinks. Using these data, we show that while there is some reallocation of food away from the child at home, total caloric intake rises. About half of the calories children receive from the atole supplement are crowded out at home. By contrast, approximately 80% of the protein that they consume from the supplement sticks with them. Even if the quantity of food consumed at home is reduced, the quality of their diet may still improve substantially. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
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