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Income Shocks and Adolescent Mental Health

  • April 2013
  • Journal Article
Baird, Sarah, de Hoop, Jacobus & Ozler, Berk

Publication Title: The Journal of Human Resources

Pages: 370-403

Abstract: We investigate the effects of a positive income shock on mental health among adolescent girls using evidence from a cash transfer experiment in Malawi. Offers of cash transfers strongly reduced psychological distress among baseline schoolgirls. However, these large beneficial effects declined with increases in the transfer amount offered to the parents conditional on regular school attendance by the adolescent girls. Improved physical health, increased school attendance, personal consumption, and leisure contributed to the effects. There was also strong evidence of increased psychological distress among untreated baseline schoolgirls in treatment areas. All of these effects dissipated soon after the program ended.

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