Long-Run Cognitive and Education Impacts of Early-Life Public Health Intervention: Evidence from Safe Motherhood Program in Indonesia

Ava Cas, Duke University

Between 1990 and 1996, over 54,000 midwives were introduced in most of Indonesia’s 68,000 villages as part of its safe motherhood strategy. I combine the quasi-experimental nature of the program with the panel dimension of Indonesian Family Life Survey to carefully examine the long run impacts of the program on cognition and education. This paper empirically tests and corroborates the findings in the medical literature that environmental influences while in utero and during the first two years of life mark the most critical periods that influence later human capital. Estimates suggest that the safe motherhood program led to an increase of about 0.28 to 0.45 years of education and 0.15 to 0.36 s.d. on standardized cognitive test scores depending on intensity of exposure of the child to the program.

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Presented in Poster Session 6