Publisher/Institution: MIT Sloan School of Management
Abstract: Improving the health and nutrition of young children is important not only for immediate well-being and human capital development, but also because it is believed to reduce poverty in the long-run in part through improved labor market outcomes. In this paper, we take advantage of the quasi-randomly placed Matlab Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning (MCH-FP) program that started in 1977, the phasing out of the program over time, and recent survey data collected by the authors to evaluate the effect of the MCH-FP program on migration and labor market outcomes. Previous research shows the MCH-FP program led to important improvement in human capital in early and late childhood (ages 8-14) for those born when the intervention was available in the treatment area. We find that when these same children are adults, approximately aged 24-29, they are 20 percent less likely to migrate out of the study area, are more likely to have semi-professional or professional jobs, but on average do not earn more income or work more hours. The lack of effect on income is in part due to the lower migration rates, and hence lower incomes, among those eligible for the program. Stratifying by migration status reveals that income is 31 percent higher among non-migrants aged 24-29.