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Medium and Long Run Effects of Nutrition and Child Care: Evaluation of a Community Nursery Program in Rural Colombia

Sponsor: Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network

Wednesday, October 20
12:30 to 2:00 PM
Room MC3-570

Presenters: Orazio P. Attanasio (University College London & Institute of Fiscal Studies) and Marcos Vera-Hernandez (Institute of Fiscal Studies)

This study evaluates a large nutrition program in rural Colombia, called Hogares Comunitarios de Bienestar Familiar. This is a large intervention based on community nurseries where poor children receive food (purchased by the government) and child care from one of the mothers in the community. The study aims to measure the effects of this program on the nutritional status of young children and, possibly, its long run effects on other outcomes, such as school achievement. The results show that the program has important effects both on the nutritional status of young children and on the academic performance of older children. It also finds important effects on female labor supply. Instrumenting is crucial: simple comparison of participants and non-participants (conditional or non-conditional) find no significant effects of the program. This result is consistent with the evidence from the participation equations that point to the fact that the participating children are the poorest. The program seems to be able to compensate the difference between these children and those that are slightly better off. In terms of nutritional status these outcomes are large: they amount to almost two centimetres in height for young children.

Copies of the papers can be obtained from Patricia Sader:

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