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Impact of Caregiver Incentives on Child Health: Evidence from an Experiment with Anganwadi Workers in India

70 Pages Posted: 3 May 2016 Last revised: 20 Mar 2017

Prakarsh Singh

Amherst College - Department of Economics

William A. Masters

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Tufts University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 5, 2017

Abstract

This paper tests the effectiveness of performance pay and bonuses among government childcare workers in India. In a controlled study of 160 ICDS centers serving over 4,000 children, we randomly assign workers to either fixed bonuses or payments based on the nutritional status of children in their care, and also collect data from a control group receiving only standard salaries. In all three study arms mothers receive nutrition information. We find that performance pay reduces underweight prevalence by about 5 percentage points over 3 months, and height improves by about one centimeter. Impacts on weight continue when incentives are renewed and return to parallel trends thereafter. Fixed bonuses are less expensive but lead to smaller and less precisely estimated effects than performance pay, especially for children near malnutrition thresholds. Both treatments improve worker effort and communication with mothers, who in turn feed a more calorific diet to children at home.

Keywords: Performance Pay, Public Health Information, Child Malnutrition

JEL Classification: I12, M52

Suggested Citation

Singh, Prakarsh and Masters, William A., Impact of Caregiver Incentives on Child Health: Evidence from an Experiment with Anganwadi Workers in India (March 5, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2773941 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2773941

Prakarsh Singh

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

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

William Masters (Contact Author)

Tufts University - Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy ( email )

150 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02111
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.tufts.edu/willmasters

Tufts University - Department of Economics ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

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