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Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data

Author

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  • Amarante, Veronica

    (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)

  • Manacorda, Marco

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Miguel, Edward

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Vigorito, Andrea

    (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)

Abstract

There is limited empirical evidence on whether unrestricted cash social assistance to poor pregnant women improves children's birth outcomes. Using program administrative micro-data matched to longitudinal vital statistics on the universe of births in Uruguay, we estimate that participation in a generous cash transfer program led to a sizeable 15% reduction in the incidence of low birthweight. Improvements in mother nutrition and a fall in labor supply, out-of-wedlock births and mother's smoking all appear to contribute to the effect. We conclude that, by improving child health, unrestricted unconditional cash transfers may help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Amarante, Veronica & Manacorda, Marco & Miguel, Edward & Vigorito, Andrea, 2011. "Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6231, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6231
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data
      by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-01-20 21:16:00
    2. Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data
      by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-01-06 02:21:00
    3. Do Cash Transfers Improve Birth Outcomes? Evidence from Matched Vital Statistics, Social Security and Program Data
      by Maximo Rossi in Wikiprogress América Latina on 2012-04-02 04:24:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Foureaux Koppensteiner, Martin & Manacorda, Marco, 2016. "Violence and birth outcomes: Evidence from homicides in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 16-33.
    2. Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner & Marco Manacorda, 2013. "The Effect of Violence on Birth Outcomes: Evidence from Homicides in Rural Brazil," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-416, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Alderman, Harold, 2014. "Can transfer programs be made more nutrition sensitive?:," IFPRI discussion papers 1342, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Hilary Hoynes & Doug Miller & David Simon, 2015. "Income, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Infant Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 172-211, February.
    5. Marcelo Bergolo & Guillermo Cruces, 2014. "Work and tax evasion incentive effects of social insurance programs. Evidence from an employment-based benefit extension," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0161, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    6. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Blomeyer Dorothea & Laucht Manfred & Coneus Katja & Pfeiffer Friedhelm, 2013. "Early Life Adversity and Children’s Competence Development: Evidence from the Mannheim Study of Children at Risk," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 233(4), pages 467-485, August.
    8. United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, 2016. "Stop Stunting in South Asia: A Common Narrative on Maternal and Child Nutrition," Working Papers id:10800, eSocialSciences.
    9. Independent Evaluation Group, 2014. "Social Safety Nets and Gender : Learning from Impact Evaluations and World Bank Projects," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 21365, July.
    10. Katz, Benjamin & Chaffin, Josh & Alon, Inbal & Ager, Alastair, 2014. "Livelihoods, economic strengthening, child protection and well-being in Western Uganda," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(P2), pages 149-156.
    11. Diane Coffey & Payal Hathi, 2016. "Underweight and Pregnant: Designing Universal Maternity Entitlements to Improve Health," Indian Journal of Human Development, , vol. 10(2), pages 176-190, August.
    12. Bergolo, Marcelo & Cruces, Guillermo, 2014. "Work and tax evasion incentive effects of social insurance programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 211-228.
    13. von Haaren, Paula & Klonner, Stefan, 2020. "Maternal cash for better child health? The impacts of India’s IGMSY/PMMVY maternity benefit scheme," Working Papers 0689, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    14. Sudhanshu Handa & Amber Peterman & David Seidenfeld & Gelson Tembo, 2016. "Income Transfers and Maternal Health: Evidence from a National Randomized Social Cash Transfer Program in Zambia," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(2), pages 225-236, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    birth outcomes; welfare transfers;

    JEL classification:

    • J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy
    • 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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