Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Maternal Literacy and Child Health

A new study released through UNICEF and other agencies examines the impact of the child support grant in South Africa. In short the program gives households below a certain income threshold a monthly cash payment around $30 a month.

One thing that caught my eye in the study is that the overall impact on children's height is not statistically different from zero. We care about how tall children are because several studies have shown in the long run children's height is strongly associated with future income also children who receive help or avoid shocks that stunt their growth tend to earn higher incomes when they grow up. This is consistent with a meta-analysis I did with co-authors that should be released shortly that cash transfers have small impacts on height for age.
The child support grant was found to improve height for age for children whose mother had at least 8 years of education, this is consistent with previous findings in Mexico (and I looked into this in a similar Nicaraguan program and found the same thing).

As the authors of the South African study suggest mothers may need to have schooling to fully implement the associated changes in behavior such as improved nutrition and hygiene that are needed to get the most out of the cash payments.

 h/t Roving Bandit 

Bookmark and Share

No comments: