Reducing Child Malnutrition through Community Intervention Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Three Regions in Senegal

Sebastian Linnemayr, Harvard University
Harold Alderman, World Bank Group

This article investigates the impact of a randomized community program that aims to improve child nutrition in Senegal. We find a significant impact of the Nutrition Enhancement Program (PRN) on medical inputs and child care measures taken by mothers in original treatment villages despite substantial deviation from the planned assignment status of villages between the two data waves. We do not detect a program impact on the outcome measure of weight for age except for the youngest children, possibly because the program has not been in place long enough to show a tangible effect. When comparing the results of this prospective analysis based on randomization with those from an ex-post difference-in-difference approach, we find that the latter leads to a larger estimated impact of the intervention. The study highlights the importance of policy interventions in developing countries that aim at changes in child care practice.

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Presented in Session 159: Improving child health in developed and developing countries