IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The impacts of a multifaceted pre-natal intervention on human capital accumulation in early life


  • Pedro Carneiro

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

  • Lucy Kraftman

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Giacomo Mason

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Lucie Moore

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Imran Rasul

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

  • Molly Scott

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Fiscal Studies)


We evaluate an intervention targeting early life nutrition and well-being for households in extreme poverty in Northern Nigeria. The intervention leads to large and sustained improvements in children’s anthropometric and health outcomes, including an 8% reduction in stunting four years post-intervention. These impacts are partly driven by information-related channels. However, the certain and substantial ‡ow of cash transfers is also key. They induce positive labor supply responses among women, and enables them to undertake productive investments in livestock. These provide protein rich diets for children, and generate higher household earnings streams long after the cash transfers expire.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Carneiro & Lucy Kraftman & Giacomo Mason & Lucie Moore & Imran Rasul & Molly Scott, 2020. "The impacts of a multifaceted pre-natal intervention on human capital accumulation in early life," CeMMAP working papers CWP61/20, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:61/20

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Karen Macours & Norbert Schady & Renos Vakis, 2012. "Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 247-273, April.
    2. Oriana Bandiera & Robin Burgess & Narayan Das & Selim Gulesci & Imran Rasul & Munshi Sulaiman, 2017. "Labor Markets and Poverty in Village Economies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(2), pages 811-870.
    3. Bouguen, Adrien & Huang, Yue & Kremer, Michael & Miguel, Edward, 2018. "Using RCTs to Estimate Long-Run Impacts in Development Economics," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5ht9v8vn, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    4. Manley, James & Gitter, Seth & Slavchevska, Vanya, 2013. "How Effective are Cash Transfers at Improving Nutritional Status?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 133-155.
    5. Heckman, James J. & Karapakula, Ganesh, 2019. "Intergenerational and Intragenerational Externalities of the Perry Preschool Project," IZA Discussion Papers 12363, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John, 1997. "Health and wages: Evidence on men and women in urban Brazil," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 159-185, March.
    7. Derek Headey & Kalle Hirvonen & John Hoddinott, 2018. "Animal Sourced Foods and Child Stunting," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 100(5), pages 1302-1319.
    8. Nur Cahyadi & Rema Hanna & Benjamin A. Olken & Rizal Adi Prima & Elan Satriawan & Ekki Syamsulhakim, 2020. "Cumulative Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: Experimental Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 88-110, November.
    9. Tania Barham & Karen Macours & John A. Maluccio, 2013. "Boys' Cognitive Skill Formation and Physical Growth: Long-Term Experimental Evidence on Critical Ages for Early Childhood Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 467-471, May.
    10. Pamela Jakiela & Owen Ozier, 2016. "Does Africa Need a Rotten Kin Theorem? Experimental Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(1), pages 231-268.
    11. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
    12. Najy Benhassine & Florencia Devoto & Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & Victor Pouliquen, 2015. "Turning a Shove into a Nudge? A "Labeled Cash Transfer" for Education," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 86-125, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Siddique, Abu & Islam, Asad & Mozumder, Tanvir Ahmed & Rahman, Tabassum & Shatil, Tanvir, 2022. "Forced Displacement, Mental Health, and Child Development: Evidence from the Rohingya Refugees," SocArXiv b4fc7, Center for Open Science.
    2. Orazio Attanasio & Sarah Cattan & Costas Meghir, 2021. "Early Childhood Development, Human Capital and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 29362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. de Groot, Richard & Yablonski, Jennifer & Valli, Elsa, 2022. "The impact of cash and health insurance on child nutrition during the first 1000 days: Evidence from Ghana," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 107(C).
    4. Araújo, Daniel & Carrillo, Bladimir & Sampaio, Breno, 2021. "The Long-Run Economic Consequences of Iodine Supplementation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    5. Duncan Webb, 2022. "Critical Periods in Cognitive and Socioemotional Development: Evidence from Weather Shocks in Indonesia," PSE Working Papers halshs-03542607, HAL.
    6. Johannes M. Bos & Akib Khan & Saravana Ravindran & Abu S. Shonchoy, 2021. "Early Childhood Human Capital Formation at Scale," Working Papers 2115, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
    7. Duncan Webb, 2022. "Critical Periods in Cognitive and Socioemotional Development: Evidence from Weather Shocks in Indonesia," Working Papers halshs-03542607, HAL.
    8. Fink, Günther & Venkataramani, Atheendar S. & Zanolini, Arianna, 2021. "Early life adversity, biological adaptation, and human capital: evidence from an interrupted malaria control program in Zambia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Baird, Sarah & McIntosh, Craig & Özler, Berk, 2019. "When the money runs out: Do cash transfers have sustained effects on human capital accumulation?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 169-185.
    2. Bryan, Gharad & Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq & Morten, Melanie & Smits, Joeri, 2021. "Encouragement and Distortionary Effects of Conditional Cash Transfers," IZA Discussion Papers 14326, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Molina Millán, Teresa & Macours, Karen & Maluccio, John A. & Tejerina, Luis, 2020. "Experimental long-term effects of early-childhood and school-age exposure to a conditional cash transfer program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    4. Zhou, Lei & Jiang, Bo & Wang, Jingxi, 2020. "Do cash transfers have impacts on student Academic, cognitive, and enrollment outcomes? Evidence from rural China," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    5. Marta Favara & Catherine Porter & Tassew Woldehanna, 2019. "Smarter through social protection? Evaluating the impact of Ethiopia’s safety-net on child cognitive abilities," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(1), pages 79-96, January.
    6. M. Caridad Araujo & Mariano Bosch & Norbert Schady, 2017. "Can Cash Transfers Help Households Escape an Intergenerational Poverty Trap?," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Poverty Traps, pages 357-382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dominic Richardson & UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, 2018. "Key Findings on Families, Family Policy and the Sustainable Development Goals: Synthesis Report," Papers inorer948, Innocenti Research Report.
    8. Adrien Bouguen & Deon Filmer & Karen Macours & Sophie Naudeau, 2018. "Preschool and Parental Response in a Second Best World: Evidence from a School Construction Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(2), pages 474-512.
    9. Kilburn, Kelly & Handa, Sudhanshu & Angeles, Gustavo & Mvula, Peter & Tsoka, Maxton, 2017. "Short-term impacts of an unconditional cash transfer program on child schooling: Experimental evidence from Malawi," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 63-80.
    10. Chuan, Amanda & List, John & Samek, Anya, 2021. "Do financial incentives aimed at decreasing interhousehold inequality increase intrahousehold inequality?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 196(C).
    11. Bouguen, Adrien & Filmer, Deon & Macours, Karen & Naudeau, Sophie, 2014. "Preschools and early childhood development in a second best world: Evidence from a scaled-up experiment in Cambodia," CEPR Discussion Papers 10170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Teresa Molina Millan & Karen Macours, 2017. "Attrition in randomized control trials: Using tracking information to correct bias," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1702, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    13. Lentz, Erin C. & Barrett, Christopher B., 2013. "The economics and nutritional impacts of food assistance policies and programs," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 151-163.
    14. Margherita Calderone, 2017. "Are there different spillover effects from cash transfers to men and women? Impacts on investments in education in post-war Uganda," WIDER Working Paper Series 093, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Raza, Wameq A. & Van de Poel, Ellen & Van Ourti, Tom, 2018. "Impact and spill-over effects of an asset transfer program on child undernutrition: Evidence from a randomized control trial in Bangladesh," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 105-120.
    16. Dean Karlan & Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan & Jonathan Zinman, 2014. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 36-78, March.
    17. Bauchet, Jonathan & Undurraga, Eduardo A. & Reyes-García, Victoria & Behrman, Jere R. & Godoy, Ricardo A., 2018. "Conditional cash transfers for primary education: Which children are left out?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 1-12.
    18. Samuel Berlinski & Norbert Schady, 2015. "Daycare Services: It’s All about Quality," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Samuel Berlinski & Norbert Schady (ed.), The Early Years, chapter 4, pages 91-119, Palgrave Macmillan.
    19. Jules Gazeaud & Claire Ricard, 2021. "Conditional cash transfers and the learning crisis: evidence from Tayssir scale-up in Morocco," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp2102, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    20. Maria Caridad Araujo & Karen Macours, 2021. "Education, Income and Mobility: Experimental Impacts of Childhood Exposure to Progresa after 20 Years," Working Papers halshs-03364972, HAL.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • 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
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:61/20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Emma Hyman (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.