Cecilia Machado, Professor of Economics, FGV
How and When: Disentangling Cash and Care effect of CCTs on Birth Outcomes
This paper seeks to understand the impacts of the Bolsa Família conditional cash transfer on birth outcomes (eg., birth weight, gestational weeks, Apgar scores, congenital anomalies and other outcomes that are recorded at the birth certificate, as well as mortality until age one). The proposed design will disentangle the measured effects into two important components: one that is associated to the cash transfer itself, as cash at hand may improve nutrition of mother and fetus, and another related to prenatal care assistance, which is a mandatory compliance conditions met by beneficiaries. Moreover, our empirical strategy will allow us to determine the window of opportunity where CCT interventions exhibit highest impacts on birth outcomes, recognizing heterogeneous impacts according to how early in the pregnancy the CCT intervention starts. The design will infer causal effects of the intervention by focusing on smaller subsets of a very large registry data by using quasi-experimental variation in the CCT eligibility rules. The availability of a large number of observations allows focusing on specific groups of women, such as by age and birth order.