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

23 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2005

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

Abstract

This paper considers the impact of Programa de Educacion, Salud y Alimentacion (PROGRESA), a large Mexican rural anti-poverty programme that had an evaluation sample in which overall treatment was randomly assigned to some communities but not others, on child nutrition. When we examine the impact of PROGRESA based on the presumption of randomized allocations, we find that PROGRESA had no or even a negative impact on child nutrition. However, not all children designated to receive nutritional supplements actually did so. Our preferred estimates - child fixed-effects estimates that control for unobserved heterogeneity that is correlated with access to the supplement - indicate a significantly positive and fairly substantial programme effect of the nutritional supplements on children 12-36 months. They imply an increase of about a sixth in mean growth per year for these children and a lower probability of stunting. Effects are somewhat larger for children from poorer communities but whose mothers are functionally literate. The long-term consequences of these improvements are non-trivial; its impact working through adult height alone could result in a 2.9% increase in lifetime earnings.

Suggested Citation

Behrman, Jere R. and Hoddinott, John, Programme Evaluation with Unobserved Heterogeneity and Selective Implementation: The Mexican Progresa Impact on Child Nutrition. Oxford Bulletin of Economics & Statistics, Vol. 67, No. 4, pp. 547-569, August 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=764831

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

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