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Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Malnutrition in Urban Slums

Singh, Prakarsh (2011): Performance Pay and Information: Reducing Child Malnutrition in Urban Slums.

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Abstract

This paper provides evidence for the effectiveness of performance pay to government workers and how performance pay interacts with demand-side information. In an experiment covering 145 child day-care centres, I implement three separate treatments. First, I engineer an exogenous change in compensation for childcare workers from fixed wages to performance pay. Second, I only provide mothers with information without incentivizing the workers. Third, I combine the first two treatments. This helps us identify if performance pay and public information are complements or substitutes in reducing child malnutrition. I find that combining incentives to workers and information to mothers reduces weight-for-age malnutrition by 4.2% in 3 months, although individually the effects are negligible. This complementarity is shown to be driven by better mother-worker communication and the mother feeding more calorific food at home. There is also a sustained long-run positive impact of the combined treatment after the experiment concluded.

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