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The Effects of In utero Programs on Birth Outcomes: The Case of “Buen Comienzo” *** El Efecto de Programas dirigidos a Madres Gestantes en Indicadores al Nacer: El caso de “Buen Comienzo”

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Abstract

This paper studies the effects of an in utero program on birth outcomes addressed to vulnerable pregnant women. We use information from the Buen Comienzo program, an initiative run by the local government of Medellin, the second largest city of Colombia. In order to identify the effects we obtain matching estimates using data from program participants and the census of birth statistics. We find that the program increased the birth weight of participant children by 0.09 and 0.23 standard deviations for boys and girls, respectively, and reduced the prevalence of low birth weight by 2.6 and 4.6 ppts for boys and girls, respectively. In terms of size, the program reduces the incidence of being short by 3 and 4 ppts, for boys and girls, respectively. The program also significantly reduced preterm births between 3 and 8 ppts. We also provide evidence of the existence of heterogeneous effects depending on a mother’s exposure to the program and her frequency of attendance. Finally, an estimate of the cost-benefit ratio of the program suggests that its benefits could be 2 to 6 times its costs, respectively for boys and girls born from participant mothers with early exposure to the program. *** Este documento examina los efectos de una estrategia dirigida a madres gestantes en condiciones de vulnerabilidad sobre los indicadores de sus hijos al nacer. Para lo anterior se usa información administrativa del programa Buen Comienzo, una iniciativa lanzada por el gobierno local de Medellín, la segunda ciudad más grande de Colombia. Con el fin de identificar el efecto, se obtienen estimadores de emparejamiento o matching usando datos de madres participantes del programa así como del censo de estadísticas vitales. Se encuentra que el programa aumentó el peso al nacer de hijos de madres participantes en 0.09 y 0.23 desviaciones estándar para niños y niñas respectivamente, reduciendo la incidencia de bajo peso al nacer en 2.6 y 4.6 pp respectivamente. En cuanto a la talla al nacer, el programa Buen Comienzo habría reducido la probabilidad de tener baja talla en 3 y 4 pp para niños y niñas en cada caso. En términos de nacimientos prematuros, los resultados muestran una reducción en su probabilidad de entre 3 y 8 pp. Finalmente, se encuentra evidencia de efectos diferenciales del programa dependiendo del tiempo de exposición y frecuencia de asistencia a la estrategia. En términos de costo-beneficio nuestros estimados sugieren que los beneficios del programa podrían estar entre 2 y 6 veces sus costos en el caso de niños y niñas nacidos de madres participantes con exposición temprana al programa.

Suggested Citation

  • Lina Cardona-Sosa & Carlos Medina, 2016. "The Effects of In utero Programs on Birth Outcomes: The Case of “Buen Comienzo” *** El Efecto de Programas dirigidos a Madres Gestantes en Indicadores al Nacer: El caso de “Buen Comienzo”," Borradores de Economia 955, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:955
    DOI: 10.32468/be.955
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Early childhood programs; program evaluation; selection on observables *** peso al nacer; atención a la primera infancia; evaluación de programas; selección basada en observables; matching.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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