Birthweight of Children Born into Households Enrolled in Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: The Case of Mexico's PROGRESA-Oportunidades

Artemisa Flores Martinez, University of Warwick

This paper uses conditional and unconditional quantile regressions to investigate whether the conditional cash transfer program PROGRESA-Oportunidades had an effect on the birthweight of babies born into enrolled households in rural Mexico. The paper finds that the program effect across the conditional birthweight distribution varies from 135 grams on birthweights at the 20th percentile to 207 grams on birthweights at the 80th percentile. The estimated program impacts on the respective unconditional birthweight quantiles are very similar. Program impacts on birthweight may thus be distributionally regressive, although positive, within the treated population. The paper also uncovers the large deleterious effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy on birthweights at lower quantiles. Specifically, maternal smoking decreases birthweights at the 20th percentile of the conditional distribution by almost half a kilogram. This effect is not picked up by least squares regression estimates.

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Presented in Poster Session 1