Money and My Mind

Maternal Cash Transfers and Mental Health

Published in: Health Economics, Volume 30, Issue 11, pages 2879–2904 (November 2021). doi: 10.1002/hec.4398

Posted on RAND.org on November 10, 2021

by Edward N. Okeke

Read More

Access further information on this document at Health Economics

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This paper documents important mental health spillovers in the context of a program that offered pregnant women modest cash incentives to use pre- and perinatal health care services. Program participation was randomized and the payments were made after the birth of the child (and after the completion of an endline mental health assessment). I present causal evidence that the program led to improvements in mothers' mental health. The effect size ranges from a 1–3 percentage point reduction in postpartum depression measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. I present suggestive evidence that these beneficial effects on mental health may be related to program-induced improvements in child health. These results provide novel evidence that programs designed to improve birth outcomes may generate unanticipated spillover effects on mental health.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.