Protecting child nutritional status in the aftermath of a financial crisis : evidence from Indonesia
This paper exploits heterogeneity in program exposure to evaluate the effectiveness of a supplementary feeding program implemented in the wake of the 1997-1998 economic crises in Indonesia. The explicit aim of the program was to protect the nutritional status of infants and young children from adverse effects of the crisis. The use of heterogeneity in program exposure has several advantages for identifying the impact of the program. First, the analysis avoids the strong assumption that all targeted children experienced homogenous exposure to the program, and facilitates identification in a setting in which nearly all communities experienced some exposure. Second, by exploiting child age and program eligibility rules, the paper estimates models with community fixed effects and thus avoid bias introduced as a result of endogenous program placement. The analysis finds that the program improved the nutritional status of children 12 to 24 months of age at the time of the survey in 2000, and helped to avoid problems of severe malnutrition among young children.
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