Thursday, December 13, 2007

Does money matter? The effects of cash transfers on child health and development

Source: Eldis (

Article:Does money matter? The effects of cash transfers on child health and development in rural Ecuador

*The following are excerpts from the aforementioned article:

Relatively modest cash transfers to poor women leads to substantial improvements in child health
Authors: C. Paxson; N. Schady
Publisher: World Bank, 2007
Full text of document

This World Bank paper examines how a government-run cash transfer programme targeted to poor mothers in rural Ecuador influenced the health and development of their children. Unlike other transfer programmes that have been implemented in Latin America, the receipt of the cash transfers was not conditioned on specific parental actions. The programme therefore makes it possible to assess whether conditionality is necessary for programmes to have beneficial effects on children.

The paper finds that the cash transfer programme had a positive effect on the physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development of children, and the treatment effects were substantially larger for the poorer children than for less poor children. The programme also appeared to improve children’s nutrition and increased that chance that they were treated for helminth infections (infections caused by parasitic worms). However, children were not more likely to visit health clinics for growth monitoring, and the mental health and parenting of their mothers did not improve. The paper concludes that unconditional transfers will improve the welfare of poor families regardless of how the money is spent and may also improve child health and development.

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*Note the abovementioned excerpts are direct quotes from the article and thus all credit and references should be afforded to the authors/sources.

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