The Long Term Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families
We estimate the long-run impact of cash transfers to poor families on children's longevity, educational attainment, nutritional status, and income in adulthood. To do so, we collected individual-level administrative records of applicants to the Mothers' Pension program--the first government-sponsored welfare program in the US (1911-1935) --and matched them to census, WWII and death records. Male children of accepted applicants lived one year longer than those of rejected mothers. Male children of accepted mothers received one-third more years of schooling, were less likely to be underweight, and had higher income in adulthood than children of rejected mothers.
We are grateful to a large number of RAs who helped us collect the data for this project. We are also grateful to Federico Bugni and Bo Honoré for their help with the econometric issues. We received many useful comments from Martha Bailey, Hoyt Bleakley, Janet Currie, Robert Jensen, Andrew Foster, Robert Margo and seminar participants at Columbia University, Cornell University, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin, the London School of Economics, Harvard University, John Hopkins University, the NBER Universities Research Conference, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, University of California Davis, and L'Institut d'études politiques (IEP) de Paris. This project received funding from the California Center for Population Research (CCPR), the Brown University Population Studies and Training Center and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Aizer, Anna, Shari Eli, Joseph Ferrie, and Adriana Lleras-Muney. 2016. "The Long-Run Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families." American Economic Review, 106 (4): 935-71. DOI: 10.1257/aer.20140529