Does money matter? The effects of cash transfers on child health and development in rural Ecuador
The paper finds that the cash transfer programme had a positive effect on the physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development of children, and the treatment effects were substantially larger for the poorer children than for less poor children. The programme also appeared to improve children’s nutrition and increased that chance that they were treated for helminth infections (infections caused by parasitic worms). However, children were not more likely to visit health clinics for growth monitoring, and the mental health and parenting of their mothers did not improve. The paper concludes that unconditional transfers will improve the welfare of poor families regardless of how the money is spent and may also improve child health and development.