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The Impact of PROGRESA on Health in Mexico

Financial Inclusion Mexico

Cash transfer programs are increasingly common across developing countries. Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs, in particular, provide incentives for parents to invest in the human capital of their children by making the transfers conditional on certain behaviors. In 1997, the Mexican government implemented a national conditional cash transfers program called PROGRESA, later Oportunidades, which had distributed approximately US$4.5 billion to 5.8 million beneficiary households by 2010. This study utilizes household panel data to evaluate the impact of PROGRESA on the health of young children and their families. Results find that within the first year, there was a 60 percent increase in clinic visitations in PROGRESA areas. Children in treatment households had about a 23 percent reduction in the incidence of illness, an 18 percent reduction in anemia, and between a 1 and 4 percent increase in height. Adults in treatment households experienced a significant reduction in the number of days on which daily activities were difficult due to illness, and in the number of days spent in bed due to illness. Adults also reported a significant increase in the number of kilometers able to walk without getting tired.

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