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CUPC Research Presentation: Tania Barham

September 7, 2017 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Dr. Tania Barham, Associate Professor of Economic, CU Boulder

Thirty-Five years Later: Effect of Early Child Health and Family Planning on Adult Economic and Migration Outcomes

Early childhood health and nutrition programs are believed to improve adult living standards in the long run in part through the effect of improved human capital on labor market opportunities. Understanding if this link is causal is important from a theoretical perspective, but also imperative for policy. Large government programs, such as government health programs, Head Start in the US or Conditional Cash Transfers, rely on this link as one rational for why these programs may break the cycle of poverty. We take advantage of a quasi-randomly placed Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning program in rural Bangladesh, the roll out of the program between 1977–1988, and recently collected survey data to examine the effects on labor market outcomes and migrations 25 years after the program start. We focus on two cohorts: 30–34 year olds, born when family planning interventions were introduced in the treatment area (1977–1981); and 24–29 year olds, born when both family planning and child health interventions were available in the treatment area (1982–1988). Previous research shows the program improved human capital (cognition, height, and education) in early and late childhood for the 24-29 year olds born when the child health interventions where available. For men, we find that these same children are more likely to have semiprofessional or professional jobs, but on average do not earn more income as adults. The lack of effect on income is surprisingly driven by substantially lower migration rates out of the study area because wages are on average lower in the study area. For women, there is a 20 percent increase in participation rate in paid income activities for the 20-24 year olds. That fact that the program led to better job market outcomes and reduced migration rates is important not only for the debate about the long-term effects of health but also for migration policy where there is concern regarding a general increase in migration, especially from rural areas.


September 7, 2017
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


IBS 155B
Institute of Behavioral Science 1440 15th Street
Boulder, CO 80302
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