Source Themes

Cash Transfers and Delivery Care: Evidence from the Safe Delivery Incentive Program in Nepal

This paper examines the effects of the Safe Delivery Incentive Program in Nepal, a cash transfer program that reduced the costs of childbirth in a healthcare facility. Using a difference-in-differences design, I find that low-parity women in high Human Development Index (HDI) districts increased facility delivery by 8.6 percentage points. Despite larger cost reductions, low-parity women in low HDI districts did not increase facility delivery but increased delivery with skilled personnel by 5 percentage points. The impact in low HDI districts was driven by the program's supply-side incentive, which paid health workers to deliver in facilities or homes. This program had no impact on high-parity women, who become eligible two years later. Pre-existing barriers such as poor infrastructure of roads and facilities, customs, liquidity constraints, and lack of program awareness limited the effectiveness of the program.

The Impact of Housing Wealth Shocks over the Life Cycle on Health and Wellbeing (with David Frisvold and Padmaja Ayyagari)

This paper examines the effects of housing wealth shocks on mental and physical health and wellbeing using the 1975-2015 Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We exploit exogenous changes in housing wealth using market-level changes in housing price to identify the impact of contemporaneous housing wealth shocks on individuals. We will also estimate the cumulative effect of housing wealth shocks experienced by an individual over their lifetime using a flexible approach that allows the impact of wealth shocks to vary over time and by age. Preliminary results show a positive effect of contemporaneous increases in housing wealth on self-reported health status but no significant impact on the incidence of depression and metabolic disorders.

Woman’s Property Rights and the Impact on Maternal and Child Health

Land ownership plays a crucial role in empowering women, which can improve the health outcomes of women and children. Nepalese women predominantly depend on agriculture for their livelihoods; however, only a small fraction of them own land. This paper examines the relationship between women’s land ownership and child and maternal health outcomes using the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2001, 2011, and 2016. The empirical evaluation of the effect of land ownership typically suffers from omitted variable bias. In the absence of plausible instruments, I account for selection on unobservables using an approach that relates selection on the observables with selection on the unobservables to estimate bounds on the causal effects of land ownership (Altonji et al. 2005; Oster 2013). Results show positive associations between land ownership and decision making power of women that are unlikely to be driven entirely by correlations between land ownership and unobservable characteristics. I also find that mother’s land ownership decreases the probability of child being underweight, with a result that is robust to selection on unobservables.