Are Behavioral Change Interventions Needed to Make Cash Transfer Programs Work for Children? Experimental Evidence from Myanmar

29 Pages Posted: 21 May 2020

See all articles by Erica Field

Erica Field

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business-Economics Group; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Elisa M. Maffioli

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Health Management and Policy

Date Written: April 24, 2020

Abstract

This paper evaluates a large-scale maternal cash transfer program targeted to pregnant women and mothers of children under two. The program provides monthly cash transfers, and is supplemented with Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) in a random subset of villages. Both interventions lead to a large reduction in the proportion of children (moderately) stunted. Meanwhile, cash alone has no detectable impact on child outcomes. The effects are accompanied by improvements in dietary diversity, breastfeeding, hand-washing practices, prenatal care and food consumption. These results provide strong support for adding SBCC to maternal cash transfer programs in order to realize their impact.

Keywords: Nutrition, Cash Transfers, Social and Behavior Change Communication

JEL Classification: I15, O12

Suggested Citation

Field, Erica and Maffioli, Elisa M., Are Behavioral Change Interventions Needed to Make Cash Transfer Programs Work for Children? Experimental Evidence from Myanmar (April 24, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3584786 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3584786

Erica Field

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business-Economics Group ( email )

Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0097
United States
(919) 660-1857 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.duke.edu/ericafield/

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

Elisa M. Maffioli (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Health Management and Policy ( email )

109 Observatory
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
United States

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