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

8 aprile 2013
Ex Boccherini - Piazza S. Ponziano 6 (Conference Room )
There is limited empirical evidence on whether cash social assistance to poor pregnant women improves children's birth outcomes. Using a unique array of program and social security 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 reduction in the incidence of low birth weight. Effects are not driven by changes in fertility or other behavioral changes that we can detect in our data. We conclude that, by improving child health, cash transfers may help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Manacorda, Marco - London School of Economics and Political Science - London