Medium and Long Run Effects of Nutrition and Child Care: Evaluation of a Community Nursery Programme in Rural Colombia

In this paper we evaluate the effect of a large nutrition programme in rural Colombia on children nutritional status, school achievement and female labour supply. We find that the programme has very large and positive impacts. Dealing with the endogeneity of treatment is crucial, as the poorest children tend to select into the programme. Methods like Propensity Score Matching would even yield negative estimates of the impact of the program. Our results are robust to the use of instruments that do not depend on individual household choices. We also validate our evaluation strategy by considering the effect of the program on pre-intervention variables. Further, we explore the heterogeneity of the impact of the programme. Children from the poorest backgrounds are the ones that benefit the most.

Attanasio and Vera-Hernandez (2004)Rural.Instrumental variables using distance to nearest center as an instrument.Community nurseries where poor children receive food (purchased by government) and chid care from one of the mothers in the community.Increase in probability of women's employment (0.12 to 0.37) and hours worked (by 75/month.) Positive impact on children's height and grades. households, based on an eligibility score.