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

68 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2016

See all articles by Prakarsh Singh

Prakarsh Singh

Amherst College - Department of Economics

William A. Masters

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

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Abstract

This paper provides evidence of effectiveness for performance pay among government caregivers to improve child health in India. In a controlled study of 160 daycare centers serving over 4,000 children, we randomly assign individual workers to receive either fixed bonuses or incentive payments based on the weight‐for‐age nutritional status of children in their care, and also collect data from a control group receiving only their standard salary. Mothers of children in all three study arms receive nutrition information. We find that performance pay reduces the prevalence of underweight by about 5 percentage points over 3 months, and height improves by about one centimeter. Impacts are sustained in the medium term when incentives are renewed but fade when they are discontinued. Fixed bonuses lead to smaller effects. Both treatments appear to improve worker effort and communication with mothers, who in turn feed a more calorific diet to their children at home.

Keywords: performance pay, incentives, malnutrition, undernutrition, underweight, child development, child health, Anganwadis, ICDS, nutrition

JEL Classification: O1, I1, M5

Suggested Citation

Singh, Prakarsh and Masters, William A., Impact of Caregiver Incentives on Child Health: Evidence from an Experiment with Anganwadi Workers in India. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10083. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2819364

Prakarsh Singh (Contact Author)

Amherst College - Department of Economics ( email )

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

William A. Masters

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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