264 research outputs found

    AN EVALUATION OF GEOGRAPHIC TARGETING IN BOLSA ALIMENTAÇÃO IN BRAZIL

    Get PDF
    We evaluate the effectiveness of targeting for Brazil's Bolsa Alimentação, a nutrition-oriented cash transfer program conditioned on beneficiary participation in health activities. Geographic targeting of program funds relied on adjusted estimates of municipality child stunting prevalence, or a malnutrition map. This evaluation provides new estimates of municipality child stunting prevalence for Brazil. The improved estimates indicate moderate budgetary misallocation from geographic targeting. However, when geographic targeting errors are combined with those arising from an inconsistency between geographic and household targeting objectives, undercoverage of children at greatest risk of stunting is potentially large.Agricultural and Food Policy,

    Is there persistence in the impact of emergency food aid? Evidence on consumption, food security, and assets in rural Ethiopia

    Get PDF
    "The primary goal of emergency food aid after an economic shock is often to bolster short-term food and nutrition security. However, these transfers also act as insurance against other shock effects, such as destruction of assets and changes in economic activity, which can have lasting deleterious consequences. Although existing research provides some evidence of small positive impacts of timely food aid disbursements after a shock on current food consumption and aggregate consumption, little is known about whether these transfers play a safety net role by reducing vulnerability and protecting assets into the future. We investigate this issue by exploring the presence of persistent impacts of two major food aid programs following the 2002 drought in Ethiopia: a food-for-work program known as the Employment Generation Schemes (EGS) and a program of free food distribution (FFD). Using rural longitudinal household survey data collected in 1999 and 2004, we estimate the impact of these programs on consumption growth, food security, and growth in asset holdings 18 months after the peak of the drought, when food aid transfers had substantially or entirely ceased in most program villages... Overall, these results suggest that emergency food aid played an important role in improving welfare, access to food, and food security for many households following the drought in 2002. However, improved targeting, especially in EGS, and larger, sustained transfers may be required to increase benefits, particularly to the poorest households. The impacts of food aid identified here indicate some persistence or accumulated effects of transfers on consumption growth over time. Although the time lag between receipt of transfers and observed consumption is not more than one year in most cases, the estimated impact on consumption growth relative to the size and timing of transfers suggests possible savings or multiplier effects of emergency food aid." -- Authors' AbstractFood aid, Treatment effects, Propensity score matching, Ethiopia, africa, East Africa, food security, Nutrition security

    How effective are food for education programs?: A critical assessment of the evidence from developing countries

    Get PDF
    "The economic motivations for investing in the education and nutritional status of primary-school-aged children are well established. Moreover, investments in both of these forms of human capital are likely to benefit from substantial complementarities. However, in developing countries, poor and creditconstrained households routinely invest less in education and nutrition than is privately or socially optimal. Food for education (FFE) programs, including meals served in school and take-home rations conditional on school attendance, attempt to improve these investments by subsidizing the cost of school participation through providing food that could improve nutrition and learning. This study examines the economic motivation for the use of FFE programs to increase investments in education and nutrition. The study then presents a critical review of the empirical evidence of the impact of FFE programs on education and nutrition outcomes for primary-school-aged children in developing countries. The main contribution of this study is to judge and summarize the strength of the evidence based on the extent to which existing studies have identified a causal effect of an FFE program, as opposed to finding an association between the program and key outcomes that may have been affected by other contextual factors. The economic rationale for FFE programs is to offer free food conditional on school attendance to increase the net benefits of schooling enough to change some households' decisions about their children's school participation. Although schoolaged children are past the critical window of opportunity during early childhood for the greatest gains from good nutrition, increasing food and nutrient consumption among school-aged children with low baseline food energy or micronutrient intake can improve weight, reduce susceptibility to infection, and increase cognitive function in the short run. Because school meals are usually fortified, a child's micronutrient intake can improve even if her total calorie consumption does not. These xi short-run gains may improve a child's educational attainment and academic achievement, which can improve future welfare. For logistical and political reasons, school meal programs are commonly provided to all children in a targeted school. This practice raises the cost of achieving program objectives, such as increased attendance rates, because it provides transfers to many children who would have attended school anyway. Take-home rations programs are less subject to this criticism, because they are more easily targeted to groups, such as poor or female children, who are in greater need or who may be more likely to change their human capital investment decisions as a result of the program. Even when provided at school, food transfers can be diverted to other household members by taking food away from the beneficiary child at other meals. This practice could diminish the size of the transfer received by the beneficiary child, resulting in only a small net gain in the child's daily consumption. However, empirical evidence suggests that a substantial share of the food provided through in-school meal programs is not redistributed away from the beneficiary child. The critical review examines the empirical literature on the impacts of FFE programs on education and nutrition outcomes. The education outcomes considered include school participation measured by enrollment and attendance, age at entry, drop-out status, learning achievement, and cognitive development. The nutrition outcomes reviewed include food energy consumption, anthropometry, and micronutrient status. The review focuses on the empirical literature with the strongest methodology for identifying causal impacts. This literature includes experimental studies, such as randomized controlled trials; experimental field trials; studies using quasi-experimental methods, such as natural or administrative experiments; and nonexperimental studies using careful evaluation designs. Although the literature on the impacts of FFE programs is vast, high-quality studies with evaluation designs that provide causal impact estimates are relatively few. The nutrition literature offers many more experimental studies on nutrition outcomes than is yet available in the economics literature on education outcomes, yet many of the nutrition studies are controlled trials in which many components of the intervention typically affected by behavior, such as amount of food available at a meal, are closely managed. The external validity of these studies for programs implemented in the field is often difficult to ascertain. The number of experimental field studies for any outcome is few, but growing. From the existing literature, it is possible to draw conclusions about the likely impact of FFE programs on some outcomes, whereas for other outcomes, the literature is inconclusive. The empirical evidence suggests that in-school feeding has a positive impact on school participation in areas where initial indicators of school participation are low. In-school meal programs have been shown to have small impacts on school xii summary attendance rates for children already enrolled in school. However, there is no causal evidence for an impact on net primary-school attendance rates for all school-aged children in the service area of a school because of limitations in study design. The only study we found with attendance data for a representative sample of primaryschool– aged children, including those enrolled in school at baseline and those not enrolled, found a strong association between participation in a school meal program and school attendance, but estimated impacts cannot be reliably attributed to causal effects of the program. For similar reasons, there is also scant evidence on the effects of school meals on primary-school enrollment rates. Two empirical studies find that school meal programs cause a significant increase in learning achievement, as measured by improvements in test scores. However, in each study, scores were significantly higher for school meal recipients on only one of three tests taken. The impact of in-school meals on learning appears to operate both through improvements in school attendance and through better learning efficiency while in school, though no study has separately identified the relative contribution of these effects. FFE programs may also have an impact on cognitive development, though the size and nature of the effect vary greatly by program, micronutrient content of the food, and the measure of cognitive development used. Empirical evidence on the effects of school meals on cognitive function is mixed and depends on the tests used, the content of the meals, and the initial nutritional status of the children. Most of the studies are conducted in a laboratory setting and look at the short-term impact of feeding on cognitive function. The aspects of cognitive ability tested differ by study, making it difficult to compare results. Nonetheless, there is evidence that school meals rich in animal-source foods improved cognitive function in Kenyan children. Another study demonstrates an effect of school breakfasts on cognitive function. Given the controlled setting that formed the basis for these experiments, it would be useful now to expand the external validity of the evidence through field experiments. On other outcomes, the evidence of the impact of in-school feeding on primaryschool drop-out rates is inconclusive. We also found no study that examines the impact of school meals on age at school entry, probably because of the expense of collecting data on a representative sample of children around this age. Also, there is little conclusive evidence on the impact of take-home rations on education outcomes. For nutrition outcomes, most of the evidence comes from randomized trials in the nutrition literature. For food-energy (calorie) consumption, the evidence shows that in-school feeding programs show greater potential to improve children's total daily energy consumption when children's baseline consumption is well below their age- or weight-recommended consumption level. Differences in empirical strategy summary xiii may account for differences in findings across studies, as randomized experiments found a lower impact than did quasi-experimental studies. The diversity of program components and target populations in anthropometric studies, as well as the complexity of biological growth mechanisms, make it difficult to assess the effectiveness of FFE on anthropometric indicators. Overall, several studies showed gains in body size (for example, height, weight, body mass index) or composition (for example, mean upper-arm circumference) due to participation in FFE programs, with weight or body mass index appearing to respond most often. Improvements were typically small, though the effects of increased consumption may have been mitigated by increased activity levels in some cases. The micronutrient content of foods provided may contribute to gains in height (iron fortification) and mean upper-arm circumference (providing meat-based snacks). Deworming appears to have an interactive effect with FFE on height in one study. Turning to micronutrient status, iron fortification of FFE meals appears to improve iron status in nearly all studies reviewed. Evidence for other micronutrients is more sparse. One study found that meat-based meals improve plasma vitamin B12 concentrations but found no impact on other micronutrients. Two studies reviewed the impact of FFE on vitamin A status: one found a positive effect on plasma vitamin A status, whereas the other found no impact. Finally, one study found that iodine fortification reduced the prevalence of iodine deficiencies. The presence of malaria or other infections may impede detection of these benefits, particularly with respect to iron status. Combining the treatment with deworming can improve the effectiveness of iron supplementation, particularly in children with low baseline iron stores. Summarizing this evidence, FFE programs appear to have considerable impacts on primary-school participation, but the quality of this evidence is weak. Higher quality studies indicate some impacts on learning and cognitive development. There is evidence of effects on food consumption and micronutrient status, provided that initial consumption and nutrient deficiencies are identified and that programs are tailored to address these deficiencies. In many cases, the FFE programs appear to have little impact, because the levels of key outcome variables, such as school attendance or micronutrient status, are already high. Despite this evidence, significant research gaps remain. A surprising gap in this literature is the lack of convincing evidence of these programs' effect on school enrollment and attendance for a representative sample of school-aged children from the school's service area. There is also no conclusive empirical evidence on the impact of FFE programs on age at entry and grade repetition, and little on drop-out rates. In general, the impacts of take-home ration programs are poorly understood. Also, few studies identify the differential impacts of FFE on children by age or xiv summary gender. Finally, the impact of FFE programs on learning achievement has not been carefully analyzed by schooling inputs and class size. Perhaps the greatest omission in current research on FFE programs is the absence of well-designed cost-effectiveness studies. The policy decision on whether to undertake an FFE program or an alternative education or nutrition intervention should be based on relative differences in cost-effectiveness. However, most studies that measure program impact do not collect the additional data needed to obtain a measure of cost-effectiveness. Such studies would identify the cost from various interventions of achieving a certain percentage increase in primary-school attendance, for example. The most convincing approach would be to conduct sideby- side randomized field experiments of alternative programs. To our knowledge, only one study has done so, comparing in-school meals to programs that provide teachers with school supplies or foster parent–teacher communication. However, even these comparisons are complicated by the scarcity of programs likely to have the same kind of combined impacts on both education and nutrition outcomes. The most immediate policy implication of this review study is that more careful and systematic research is needed to find the most cost-effective combination of programs available. Without rigorous estimates of the impact of FFE programs on school participation, it is not possible to determine whether important secondary effects on learning achievement or cognitive development come primarily through school attendance or through joint effects of schooling and improved nutrition. It is these joint effects that are uniquely available through FFE programs. If the learning and cognitive benefits to school-aged children of simultaneous improvements in nutrition and schooling from FFE programs are small, cash-based programs may be more effective at increasing school participation. If there are no joint education and nutrition effects from FFE programs, it may be more cost-effective to replace these programs with specialized education and nutrition programs that are more narrowly targeted at specific objectives. More comprehensive and rigorous evaluation studies of FFE programs are needed to determine the full scope of the impacts of these programs and their relative cost-effectiveness. Our interpretation of the empirical evidence reviewed here leads to several recommendations on the design and use of FFE programs. Effects tend to be larger where schooling participation is low or where there are significant nutritional deficiencies. This fact argues for doing an assessment of school needs in target areas before starting an FFE program. Such an evaluation would improve targeting and allow FFE program components, such as the nutrient composition and quantity of food, to be tailored to local needs. Also, program administrators should be willing to consider complementary programs to improve school quality. Learning effects cannot be achieved if the instruction is of little value. Poor school quality lowers summary xv the benefits of participation and discourages attendance. Though much more evidence is needed, results from field experiments in the Philippines suggest that the cost of alternative programs to improve school quality may be only a fraction of the per child cost of an FFE program. Coordinated programs that combine FFE with improvements in school quality may be much more effective.." "Authors' AbstractPoverty reduction, Hunger, Food for education, School children, Education, Nutrition,

    The impact of Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Programme and its linkages:

    Get PDF
    "This paper assesses the impact of Ethiopia's Productive Safety Nets Programme (PSNP), the largest social protection program in Sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa. Using Propensity Score Matching techniques, we find that the program has little impact on participants on average, due in part to transfer levels that fell far below program targets. Beneficiary households that received at least half of the intended transfers experienced a significant improvement in food security by some measures. However, households with access to both the PSNP and packages of agricultural support were more likely to be food secure, to borrow for productive purposes, use improved agricultural technologies, and operate their own nonfarm business activities. For these households, there is no evidence of disincentive effects in terms of labor supply or private transfers. However, estimates show that beneficiaries did not experience faster asset growth as a result of the programs. " from authors' abstractProductive Safety Net Programme, Impact evaluation, food security, Public works, Social protection,

    The impact of agricultural extension and roads on poverty and consumption growth in fifteen Ethiopian villages:

    Get PDF
    "This paper investigates whether public investments that led to improvements in road quality and increased access to agricultural extension services led to faster consumption growth and lower rates of poverty in rural Ethiopia. Estimating an instrumental variables model using Generalized Methods of Moments and controlling for household fixed effects, we find evidence of positive impacts with meaningful magnitudes. Receiving at least one extension visit reduces headcount poverty by 9.8 percentage points and increases consumption growth by 7.1 percent. Access to all-weather roads reduces poverty by 6.9 percentage points and increases consumption growth by 16.3 percent. These results are robust to changes in model specification and estimation methods." from authors' abstractPublic investment, roads, agricultural extension, income growth, Poverty,

    How Gender Equality Can Transform Food Systems and Protect Us From Climate Change Disasters

    Get PDF
    Enabling women to be equal partners with men in the development and use of agricultural technologies and land and water resources, in household production and consumption decisions, and in the formulation of policies and institutions is essential to successfully transform our food systems and create climate resilience for all. However, gender inequalities remain deeply engrained throughout these domains

    External Evaluation of Mobile Phone Technology-Based Nutrition and Agriculture Advisory Services in Africa and South Asia: Mobile Phones, Nutrition, and Health in Tanzania: Quantitative Endline Report

    Get PDF
    The quantitative evaluation was designed as a cRCT, with two stages of randomisation: a village level randomisation where villages are assigned to a treatment group or to a control group, and a household-level randomisation within treatment villages whereby households are either assigned to receive the mNutrition content on just the mobile phone of the primary female or on the mobile phones of both the primary female and the primary male. In villages that were assigned to the treatment group, sampled households were offered access to the mNutrition content on their mobile phone, free of charge, through a door-to-door in-person visit. In villages that were assigned to the control group, no offer of access to the service was made. Though registration for the mNutrition service was possible for all households regardless of treatment assignment, and there was some Tanzania-wide advertising of the service through billboards and radio adverts, prebaseline discussions with the organisation implementing the mNutrition service in Tanzania suggested that take-up of their existing service was low in the study region

    Uneven recovery and a lingering food crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic for rural safety net transfer recipients in Ethiopia

    Get PDF
    In the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at IFPRI and elsewhere worked quickly with their partners in government, the private sector, and survey firms to provide evidence on the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis and related restrictions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, systematic evidence on the effects of the crisis has been more limited in the ensuing months up to and after the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. Early analysis of economic models of the crisis suggested that its economic effects would be severe in the short run and greatest in Africa south of the Sahara, where the pandemic and related lockdowns were projected to depress incomes of both urban workers and rural households (Laborde, Martin, and Vos 2021). Phone surveys and rapid assessments conducted in the first weeks of the pandemic reported significant job losses in both rural and urban areas (Wieser et al. 2020), disruptions to urban food value chains (Tamru, Hirvonen, and Minten 2020), and declines in household dietary diversity in Addis Ababa (Hirvonen, de Brauw, and Abate 2021). In the time since those initial projections and rapid surveillance surveys were conducted, researchers have revisited the same samples to analyze the medium-term effects of the pandemic. In addition, they have gathered information on households at the economic margins of society and those considered to be less affected by the pandemic by virtue of their sector of employment or remote location

    Educator Incentives and Educational Triage in Rural Primary Schools

    Get PDF
    In low-income countries, primary school students often fall far below grade level and primary dropout rates remain high. Further, in some countries, educators encourage their weaker students to drop out before reaching the end of primary school. These educators hope to avoid the negative attention that authorities direct to a school when its students perform poorly on the primary leaving exams that governments use to certify primary completion and eligibility for secondary school. We report the results of an experiment in rural Uganda that sought to reduce dropout rates in grade six and seven by offering bonus payments to grade six teachers that rewarded each teacher for the performance of each of her students relative to comparable students in other schools. Teachers responded to this Pay for Percentile (PFP) incentive system in ways that raised attendance rates two school years later from .56 to .60. These attendance gains were driven primarily by outcomes in treatment schools that provide textbooks for grade six math students, where two-year attendance rates rose from .57 to .64. In these same schools, students whose initial skills levels prepared them to use grade six math texts enjoyed significant gains in math achievement. We find little evidence that PFP improved attendance or achievement in schools without books even though PFP had the same impact on reported teacher effort in schools with and without books. We conjecture that teacher effort and books are complements in education production and document several results that are consistent with this hypothesis

    External Evaluation of Mobile Phone Technology-Based Nutrition and Agriculture Advisory Services in Africa and South Asia: Mobile Phones, Nutrition, and Agriculture in Ghana: Quantitative Endline Report

    Get PDF
    To estimate the causal impact of the VFC product, we implemented a randomised encouragement design. The encouragement design does not restrict access to the VFC service (as with a control group in a randomised control trial), but instead works by randomly assigning some communities or households to receive additional marketing and promotion of the service. Because the encouragement is randomly assigned, we use the systematic variation in take-up of the service created by the encouragement to measure the causal impact of the service as the difference in outcomes between encouraged and comparison communities at endline. As we showed in the baseline report (Billings et al., 2018), random assignment ensures that baseline characteristics of children, households, and communities are similar, on average, across encouraged and comparison communities, minimising bias in impact estimates due to unobserved heterogeneity or selection. Similarly, the presence of other agriculture and nutrition interventions as well as access to public services was balanced across the encouraged and comparison communities as a result of randomisation, which limits the effect of confounding variables on the impact estimates. As a result, average differences in outcomes across the groups after the intervention can be interpreted as being truly caused by, rather than simply correlated with, the interventions
    corecore