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Iron deficiency anemia and school participation

  • Charu Sharma
  • Edward Miguel
  • Gustavo Bobonis

Iron-deficiency anemia is among the world's most widespread health problems, especially for children, but it is rarely studied by economists. This paper evaluates the impact of a health intervention delivering iron supplementation and deworming drugs to 2-6 year old children through an existing pre-school network in the slums of Delhi, India. At baseline 69 percent of sample children were anemic and 30 percent had intestinal worm infections. Sample pre-schools were randomly divided into groups and gradually phased into treatment. Weight increased significantly among assisted children, and pre-school participation rates rose sharply by 5.8 percentage points - a reduction of one-fifth in school absenteeism - in the first five months of the program. Gains are largest in low socio-economic status areas. Year two estimates are similar, but two methodological problems--sample attrition, and the non-random sorting of new child cohorts into treatment groups--complicate interpretation of the later results.

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Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Natural Field Experiments with number 00219.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00219
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  1. David S. Lee, 2002. "Trimming for Bounds on Treatment Effects with Missing Outcomes," NBER Technical Working Papers 0277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eliana Garces & Duncan Thomas & Janet Currie, 2000. "Longer Term Effects of Head Start," Working Papers 00-20, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
  4. Horton, S. & Ross, J., 2003. "The economics of iron deficiency," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 51-75, February.
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