Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Undernutrition in India

69 Pages Posted: 28 May 2013 Last revised: 26 Jun 2016

See all articles by Prakarsh Singh

Prakarsh Singh

Amherst College - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 22, 2014


This paper provides evidence for the effectiveness of performance pay to government health workers and how performance pay interacts with demand-side information. In a controlled experiment covering 145 child day-care centers, I implement three separate treatments. First, I engineer an exogenous change in compensation for childcare workers from fixed wages to performance pay. Second, I only provide mothers with information without incentivizing the workers. Third, I combine the first two treatments. This helps us identify if performance pay and public information are complements or substitutes in reducing child malnutrition. I find that combining incentives to workers and information to mothers reduces weight-for-age malnutrition by 4.2 percentage points in 3 months, although individually the effects are negligible. This complementarity is shown to be driven by better mother-worker communication and the mother feeding more calorific food at home. There is also a sustained long-run positive impact of the combined treatment after the experiment concluded.

Keywords: Performance Pay, Public Health Information, Child Malnutrition

JEL Classification: I12, J33, M52

Suggested Citation

Singh, Prakarsh, Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Undernutrition in India (July 22, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Prakarsh Singh (Contact Author)

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000
United States
413-542-2271 (Phone)

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