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Kenya Life Panel Survey: Long-Run Outcomes of Childhood Interventions in Kenya

Development Challenge

A key question of development is the extent to which childhood gains from social programs - particularly in health and education - translate to economic gains in adulthood.  The barrier to answering this question often lies in the scarcity of long-term panel data in developing countries. Panel data, which allow researchers to track the same individuals through time, provide a wealth of information towards understanding and isolating the drivers of particular outcomes in life.  The goal of the Kenya Life Panel Survey is exactly this:  to examine whether childhood gains from two randomized programs in Kenya persist in the long-run, and if they do, whether they translate into labor market or fertility impacts as the children become adults. If, for example, there are strong links between child health gains (from deworming), adult human capital formation, and earnings, the results of the proposed study may justify increased investment in child health, nutrition, and education programs.

Context

The Primary School Deworming Program (PSDP) provided free medical treatment for intestinal helminths (worms), a serious health problem for Kenyan children, to children in 75 rural primary schools in Busia District in Western Kenya. Researchers found that school-based deworming had significant health and nutritional impacts and led to dramatic gains in school attendance and enrollment.

A separate project focused on girls' education took place a few years later, also in Western Kenya.  The Girls' Scholarship Program (GSP) provided merit-based scholarships to 6th grade girls to continue their schooling, which increased student test scores as well as teacher attendance.

This project follows the same individuals who participated in the PSDP and GSP programs:  by surveying these individuals over time, the research can examine the long-term impacts of the PSDP on the life outcomes of Kenyan children. 

Evaluation Strategy

The study involves several rounds of a rigorous tracking system to follow survey respondents across and also outside of Kenya, in order to gather information for those individuals who have moved out of Busia District, the original study area. In Rounds 1 and 2, 7,500 young adults, 13-21 years old, were included in the sample.  Researchers built on an existing database of educational, health, and nutritional outcomes for school children in western Kenya (collected from 1998-2002) in order to estimate the impact of improved child health and nutrition on long-run life outcomes.  Round 3, which is currently ongoing, includes the sample of young adults from the GSP program.  The resulting dataset - the Kenyan Life Panel Survey (KLPS) - will contain unique longitudinal educational, labor market, health, nutritional, demographic, and cognitive information for over 10,000 individuals across 10 years.

Results and Policy Implications

Forthcoming.

Learn more about how this research inspired a cost-effective scale-up!

Timeline

1998-2003 PSDP
2001-2002 GSP
2003-2005 KLPS Round 1 (PSDP sample only)
2005-2006 KLPS Round 1 (GSP sample only)
2007-2009 KLPS Round 2 (PSDP sample only)
2008-2010 Vocational Training Project
2011-present KLPS Round 3 (PSDP and GSP samples)