Program Evaluation with Unobserved Heterogeneity and Selective Implementation: The Mexican Progresa Impact on Child Nutrition

36 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2002

See all articles by Jere Behrman

Jere Behrman

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

John Hoddinott

Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Students

Date Written: November 2001

Abstract

The assessment of the impact of social programs is the subject of lively, sometimes heated debate over whether program evaluation is best conducted either by comparing mean outcomes from a randomized intervention or by using econometric techniques with nonrandom samples. This paper contributes to this debate through an examination of PROGRESA, a Mexican anti-poverty and human resource program, on child nutritional status. PROGRESA was randomly assigned at the locality level. However, a shortage in the availability of one component; a nutritional supplement provided to preschool children; led local administrators to exercise discretion in its delivery, systematically favoring those children with poorer nutritional status. While comparisons of mean outcomes suggest that PROGRESA had no or a negative effect on nutritional status, estimates that control for this heterogeneity using child specific fixed effects find that PROGRESA had significant and substantial positive impacts in increasing stature. The long-term consequences of these improvements are non-trivial; its impact working through adult height alone may result in a 2.9% increase in lifetime earnings.

Keywords: Program Evaluation, Child Health, Mexico

JEL Classification: H43, I12, I38, O15

Suggested Citation

Behrman, Jere R. and Hoddinott, John, Program Evaluation with Unobserved Heterogeneity and Selective Implementation: The Mexican Progresa Impact on Child Nutrition (November 2001). PIER Working Paper No. 02-006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=306121 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.306121

Jere R. Behrman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7704 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

John Hoddinott

Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Students ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
433
Abstract Views
2,548
rank
64,986
PlumX Metrics