Healthcare at the Beginning of Life and Child Survival
Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment in Nigeria
Published in: Journal of Development Economics, Volume 143 (March 2020). doi: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2019.102426
Posted on RAND.org on December 20, 2019
Households in poor countries are encouraged (and sometimes coerced) to increase investments in formal healthcare services during pregnancy and childbirth. Is this good policy? The answer to a large extent depends on its effects on child welfare. We study the effects of a cash transfer program in Nigeria in which households were offered a payment of $14 conditioned on uptake of health services. We show that the transfer led to a large increase in uptake and a substantial increase in child survival driven by a decrease in in-utero child deaths. We present evidence suggesting that the key driver is prenatal health investments.