Research Proposal of Child Health, Poverty and the Role of Social Policies

(Skoufias and Parker, (2001)). As pointed out by the TR
3
Skoufias and Parker (2001)
conclude that “even in the programs for which rigorous impact evaluations have been
undertaken it is practically impossible to distinguish whether the observed improvement in
children’s health is a consequence of the cash transfers provided by the program, or
whether child health is improved simply because the program provides households with
micronutrient supplements and requires visits to public health facilities on a prescribed
frequency”.
The TR argues, “more generally, the primary factors that determine household investments
in children are yet to be determined”. And poses the question for the reseserchs to address:
“Are they factors that contribute improve child health, such as low level of household
income and education, or factors that relate to constraints on the supply side such as ease of
access to information and public health facilities?”
In Brazil there are large differences in infant mortality rates across regions, and large
inequalities in the distribution of income and health across and within regions. Thus, there
still remain serious challenges for policy makers striving to alleviate poverty, reduce
inequality and improve human capital and development in a cost-effective manner.
Improved information about the determinants of infant mortality rate and child health
would facilitate the development of better policies to help meet these challenges.
II. Objectives
The objective of this research proposal is to address some of these issues by examining the
private and public determinants of household investments in one specific form of human
capital: children’s health during their first years of life in Brazil. Malnutrition at the early
2
Bolsa Escola is an example of this new orientation in program goals: cash money received by the family
only when the child is at school.
3
Latin American Research Network, “ Child Health, Poverty and the Role of Social Policies”, IDB,
Washington, DC, USA, 2003., it will referred to as TR for Terms of Reference.
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