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Impact of caregiver incentives on child health: evidence from an experiment with Anganwadi workers in India

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  • Prakarsh Singh
  • William A. Masters

Abstract

This paper provides evidence for the effectiveness of performance pay among government caregivers to improve child health in India. In a controlled study of 160 daycare centers serving over 4000 children, we randomly assign workers to receive performance pay or fixed bonuses of roughly similar expected value, and test for differences in malnutrition among the children in their care. We find that performance pay reduces the prevalence of weight-for-age malnutrition by about 5 percentage points in 3 months. This effect is sustained in the medium term with a renewal of incentives but the differential growth rate fades away once the scheme is discontinued. Fixed bonuses lead to smaller-sized effects and only in the medium-term. Both treatments appear to improve worker effort and communication with mothers, who in turn feed a more calorific diet to their children at home.

Suggested Citation

  • Prakarsh Singh & William A. Masters, 2016. "Impact of caregiver incentives on child health: evidence from an experiment with Anganwadi workers in India," NCID Working Papers 01/2016, Navarra Center for International Development, University of Navarra.
  • Handle: RePEc:nva:unnvaa:wp01-2016
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    Cited by:

    1. Singh, Prakarsh & Mitra, Sandip, 2017. "Incentives, information and malnutrition: Evidence from an experiment in India," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 24-46.
    2. Roman M. Sheremeta & William A. Masters & Timothy N. Cason, 2012. "Winner-Take-All and Proportional-Prize Contests: Theory and Experimental Results," Working Papers 12-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    3. Dasgupta, Utteeyo & Mani, Subha & Singh, Prakarsh, 2016. "Searching for Religious Discrimination among Anganwadi Workers in India: An Experimental Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 10048, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Performance pay; public health information; child malnutrition;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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