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Social Assistance and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from the Uruguayan PANES

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

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.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4714.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4714
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  1. Del Bono, Emilia & Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2008. "Intrafamily Resource Allocations: A Dynamic Model of Birth Weight," IZA Discussion Papers 3704, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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