Evaluating the 10-year Impacts of Conditional Cash Transfers on Early Childhood Health Outcomes in the Philippines
Researchers in the Philippines are conducting a 10-year follow-up evaluation of a government conditional cash transfer program to measure its medium-run impact on early childhood health outcomes. IPA provided research support in data collection.
The first 1000 days of a child’s life are critical for their health, educational, and socio-emotional development. On-schedule or rapid development during this period leads to positive outcomes as they grow older, while delays can have adverse effects. For instance, research suggests that stunting — low height for a child’s age resulting from poor nutrition — can have negative associations with cognitive achievement, educational attainment, and adult physical health.
While conditional cash transfers (CCTs) have proven effective in improving early childhood education outcomes, the evidence on health indicators is mixed and limited to observational studies. However, results from a large-scale randomized evaluation conducted by this research team of a government CCT program in the Philippines called Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) found that the program led to substantial decreases in extreme stunting rates among children in early childhood. This suggests that rigorously evaluated government CCT programs may indeed yield positive health outcomes for recipients.
Researchers from the World Bank, Yale University, Northwestern University, and the University of the Philippines Manila are collaborating with IPA and the Department of Social Welfare and Development to conduct a ten-year follow-up evaluation of the 4Ps program. They will conduct surveys and collect health samples from 1,300 children in the 130 villages from the original study, in which 65 villages received cash transfers and 65 villages served as a comparison group. The main outcome of interest is the medium-run impact of the 4Ps cash transfers on children’s nutrition, educational, and cognitive & socio-emotional development. Researchers will also measure whether stunting and its adverse effects on cognitive development in early childhood persist into adolescence.
Results will be available later in 2023.