Chair of Development Economics / Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS)

Chair of Development Economics / Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS)

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How psychosocial interventions can help with money management

BlogVoxDev Financial literacy is known to be one of the biggest constraints to people in poverty handling their budgets. A new study with the involvement of Janina Steinert and Prof. Sebastian Vollmer reveals that psychosocial factors matter more in this regard than previous research had shown. In an RCT, they tested a combined financial literacy and parenting programme for families in South Africa. Findings indicate that the combination of financial and psychosocial components resulted in higher saving and an improved general economic wellbeing. Participants of the treatment group reported feeling more confident, empowered, and optimistic which may have helped them overcome some behavioural constraints and to save more. The findings of the study may assist in designing future poverty alleviation programmes with integrated psychosocial trainings. We are glad that Janina Steinert will join our research group from October 1st onwards. [Journal of Development Economics Article] [VoxDev Column]

Improving Child Health and Cognition: Evidence from a School-Based Nutrition Intervention in India

Salt_IndiaWe present experimental evidence on the impact of delivering double-fortified salt (DFS), salt fortified with iron and iodine, through the Indian school-feeding program called “mid-day meal” on anemia, cognition, and math and reading outcomes of primary school children. We conducted a field experiment that randomly provided a one-year supply of DFS at a subsidized price to public primary schools in one of the poorest regions of India. The DFS treatment had significantly positive impacts on hemoglobin levels and reduced the prevalence of any form of anemia by 20 percent but these health gains did not translate into statistically significant impacts on cognition and test scores. While exploring the heterogeneity in effects, we find that treatment had statistically significant gains in anemia and test scores among children with higher treatment compliance. We further estimate that the intervention was very cost effective and can potentially be scaled up rather easily. [Courant Centre Working Paper] [Ideas4India Column]