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Social Assistance and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from the Uruguayan PANES

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Listed:
  • Veronica Amarante
  • Marco Manacorda
  • Edward Miguel
  • Andrea Vigorito

Abstract

This paper estimates the impact of a large temporary poverty relief program, Uruguay’s PANES—on birth outcomes. Using program administrative data and longitudinal vital statistics, a significant and precisely estimated reduction in the fraction of low-weight newborns (less than 2,500 g. ) on the order of 10 to 20 percent was found to be a result of treatment. The cash (and in-kind) transfer components of the program were considered to drive the results, suggesting that unrestricted social assistance has the potential to positively affect birth outcomes, most likely through improved nutrition. Assuming that all the effect of the program was through the transfer, an elasticity of low birthweight with respect to welfare transfers on the order of around 0. 30 can be inferred.

Suggested Citation

  • Veronica Amarante & Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "Social Assistance and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from the Uruguayan PANES," Research Department Publications 4714, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4714
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Del Bono, Emilia & Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2008. "Intrafamily resource allocations: a dynamic model of birth weight," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-27, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1976. "Child Endowments and the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 143-162, August.
    3. Janet Currie, 1998. "The Effect of Welfare on Child Outcomes: What We Know and What We Need to Know," JCPR Working Papers 26, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    4. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother's Education and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532.
    5. Guy Stecklov & Paul Winters & Jessica Todd & Ferdinando Regalia, 2006. "Demographic Externalities from Poverty Programs in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from Latin America," Working Papers 2006-01, American University, Department of Economics.
    6. Suzanne Duryea & Analía Olgiati & Leslie Stone, 2006. "Registro inexacto de nacimientos en América Latina," Research Department Publications 4444, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    7. Currie, Janet & Cole, Nancy, 1993. "Welfare and Child Health: The Link between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 971-985, September.
    8. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083.
    9. Heckman, James J, 1995. "Lessons from the Bell Curve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1091-1120, October.
    10. Behrman, Jere R, 1996. "The Impact of Health and Nutrition on Education," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 23-37, February.
    11. Harold Alderman & Jere R. Behrman, 2006. "Reducing the Incidence of Low Birth Weight in Low-Income Countries Has Substantial Economic Benefits," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 21(1), pages 25-48.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guillermo Cruces & Marcelo Bérgolo, 2013. "Informality and Contributory and Non-Contributory Programmes. Recent Reforms of the Social-Protection System in Uruguay," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 31(5), pages 531-551, September.
    2. Verónica Amarante & Andrea Vigorito, 2012. "The Expansion of Non-Contributory Transfers in Uruguay in Recent Years," Policy Research Brief 29, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • 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

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