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Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Program and Social Security Data

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  • Amarante, Verónica
  • Manacorda, Marco
  • Miguel, Edward
  • Vigorito, Andrea

Abstract

There is limited empirical evidence on whether cash social assistance to poor pregnant women improves children’s birth outcomes. Using program administrative micro-data matched to longitudinal vital statistics on the universe of births in Uruguay, we estimate that participation in a generous cash transfer program led to a sizeable 15 to 17% reduction in the incidence of low birth weight. Improvements in mother nutrition and a fall in labor supply, out-of-wedlock births and mother’s smoking all appear to contribute to this effect. Effects are not driven by changes in fertility. We conclude that, by improving child health, cash transfers may help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

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  • Amarante, Verónica & Manacorda, Marco & Miguel, Edward & Vigorito, Andrea, 2012. "Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Program and Social Security Data," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt565889qz, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt565889qz
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Sam Watson’s journal round-up for 23rd May 2016
      by Sam Watson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2016-05-23 16:00:04

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    2. Struck, Shannon & Enns, Jennifer E. & Sanguins, Julianne & Chartier, Mariette & Nickel, Nathan C. & Chateau, Dan & Sarkar, Joykrishna & Burland, Elaine & Hinds, Aynslie & Katz, Alan & Santos, Rob & Ch, 2021. "An unconditional prenatal cash benefit is associated with improved birth and early childhood outcomes for Metis families in Manitoba, Canada," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    3. Ana I. Balsa & Patricia Triunfo, 2021. "The effects of expanded social health insurance on young mothers: Lessons from a pro‐choice reform in Uruguay," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(3), pages 603-622, March.
    4. Clarke, Damian & Cortés, Gustavo & Vergara, Diego, 2017. "Growing Together: Assessing Equity and Effciency in an Early-Life Health Program in Chile," Research Department working papers 1139, CAF Development Bank Of Latinamerica.
    5. Alan de Brauw & Amber Peterman, 2020. "Can conditional cash transfers improve maternal health care? Evidence from El Salvador's Comunidades Solidarias Rurales program," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(6), pages 700-715, June.
    6. Escudero, Verónica & López Mourelo, Elva & Pignatti, Clemente, 2020. "Joint provision of income and employment support: Evidence from a crisis response in Uruguay," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    7. Alzúa, María Laura & Katzkowicz, Noemí, 2021. "Pay for performance for prenatal care and newborn health: Evidence from a developing country," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    8. Bladimir Carrillo & Daniel Da Mata & Lucas Emanuel & Daniel Lopes & Breno Sampaio, 2020. "Avoidable environmental disasters and infant health: Evidence from a mining dam collapse in Brazil," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(12), pages 1786-1794, December.
    9. Tamás Hajdu & Gábor Hajdu, 2020. "Temperature, climate change and birth weight: Evidence from Hungary," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 2032, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    10. Libertad González Luna & Sofia Trommlerová, 2021. "Prenatal transfers and infant health: Evidence from Spain," Economics Working Papers 1783, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    11. Santiago Garganta & Leonardo Gasparini & Mariana Marchionni & Mariano Tappatá, 2017. "The Effect of Cash Transfers on Fertility: Evidence from Argentina," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 36(1), pages 1-24, February.
    12. Martinez, Sebastian & Celhay, Pablo & Vidal, Cecilia & Johannsen, Julia, 2018. "Paying Patients for Prenatal Care: The Effect of a Small Cash Transfer on Stillbirths and Survival," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8475, Inter-American Development Bank.
    13. 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.
    14. Libertad González & Sofia Trommlerová, 2021. "Prenatal Transfers and Infant Health: Evidence from Spain," Working Papers 1261, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    15. Okeke, Edward N. & Abubakar, Isa S., 2020. "Healthcare at the beginning of life and child survival: Evidence from a cash transfer experiment in Nigeria," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    16. Amarante, Véronica & Ferrando, Mery & Vigorito, Andrea, 2011. "School Attendance, Child Labor and Cash Transfer: An impact evaluation of PANES," PEP Policy Briefs 164618, Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP).
    17. Juan‐José Díaz & Victor Saldarriaga, 2019. "Encouraging use of prenatal care through conditional cash transfers: Evidence from JUNTOS in Peru," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(9), pages 1099-1113, September.
    18. Wookun Kim, 2020. "Baby Bonus, Fertility, and Missing Women," Departmental Working Papers 2011, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    19. Hajdu, Tamás & Hajdu, Gábor, 2018. "Smoking ban and health at birth: Evidence from Hungary," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 37-47.
    20. Rosales-Rueda, Maria, 2018. "The impact of early life shocks on human capital formation: evidence from El Niño floods in Ecuador," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 13-44.
    21. Pascaline Dupas & Edward Miguel, 2016. "Impacts and Determinants of Health Levels in Low-Income Countries," NBER Working Papers 22235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Medicine and Health Sciences; Social and Behavioral Sciences; public policy; fertility; child care; family planning; children; youth; cash transfers; reproductive health; government policy; welfare programs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • 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
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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