Evaluating the Impacts of Conditional and Unconditional Cash Transfers on Children’s Health in Rural Burkina Faso

Richard Akresh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Damien de Walque, World Bank Group
Harounan Kazianga, Oklahoma State University

We conducted a randomized experiment to estimate the impact of alternative cash transfer delivery mechanisms on health outcomes for children 0-60 months in rural Burkina Faso. The two-year pilot program randomly distributed cash transfers that were either conditional or unconditional and were given to either mothers or fathers. We find that conditional cash transfers have a significant impact (relative to unconditional cash transfers) on short-term anthropometric measures such as weight-for-age and arm circumference-for-age, in reducing the probability a child was ill during the preceding month, and conditional on being sick the child was more likely to visit the health clinic and was subsequently sick for fewer days. Surprisingly, transfers to fathers appear to have larger impacts on short term anthropometric outcomes than transfers to mothers. However, transfers given to mothers or fathers showed similar magnitude beneficial impacts on improving reported illnesses and health clinic visits.

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Presented in Session 70: Child and Family Policy