Improving Nutritional Status through Behavioral Change: Lessons from Madagascar
Emanuela Galasso, World Bank Group
Nithin Umapathi, University College London
We provide rigorous evidence for effects of a large scale intervention that focuses on quality of nutritional and child-care inputs during the early stages of life. We find that the program helped participating communities to bridge their gap in weight for age z-scores and the incidence of underweight. The program had also significant effects in protecting long term nutritional outcomes (height for age z-scores and incidence of stunting) against an underlying negative trend in the absence of the program. Importantly, the effect of the program exhibits substantial observed heterogeneity: gains in nutritional outcomes are larger for more educated mothers and for villages with better infrastructure. The results are suggestive of important complementarities between child-care, maternal knowledge and community infrastructure.