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Growing Together: Assessing Equity and Efficiency in an Early-Life Health Program in Chile

Author

Listed:
  • Clarke, Damian

    () (Universidad de Santiago de Chile)

  • Cortés Méndez, Gustavo

    () (Universidad de Santiago de Chile)

  • Vergara Sepúlveda, Diego

    () (Universidad de Santiago de Chile)

Abstract

We study the mechanism of action of an early-life social safety net program, and quantify its impact on child health outcomes at birth. We consider both the equity and efficiency implications of program impacts, and provide a metric to compare various such programs around the world. In particular, we estimate the impact of participation in Chile Crece Contigo (ChCC), Chile's flagship early-life health and social welfare program, using administrative birth data matched to social benefits usage. We find that this targeted social program had significant effects on birth weight (approximately 10 grams) and other early life human capital measures. These benefits are largest among the most socially vulnerable groups, however shift outcomes toward the middle of the distribution of health at birth. We show that the program is efficient when compared to other successful neonatal health programs around the world, and find some evidence to suggest that maternal nutrition components and increased links to the social safety net are important mechanisms of action.

Suggested Citation

  • Clarke, Damian & Cortés Méndez, Gustavo & Vergara Sepúlveda, Diego, 2018. "Growing Together: Assessing Equity and Efficiency in an Early-Life Health Program in Chile," IZA Discussion Papers 11847, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11847
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    Keywords

    public health; neonatal health; social security; efficiency; early life investments;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health

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