Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Publications Household Responses to Information on Child Nutrition: Experimental Evidence from Malawi

Household Responses to Information on Child Nutrition: Experimental Evidence from Malawi


Incorrect knowledge of the health production function may lead to inefficient household choices, and thereby to the production of suboptimal levels of health. This paper studies the effects of a cluster randomised intervention in rural Malawi which, over a six-month period, provided mothers of young infants with information on child nutrition without supplying any monetary or in-kind resources. A simple model first investigates theoretically how nutrition and other household choices including labour supply may change in response to the improved health knowledge observed in the intervention areas. We then show empirically that, in line with this model, the intervention improved household consumption, child nutrition and consequently health. These increases are funded by an increase in the labour supply of fathers. We consider and rule out alternative explanations behind these findings. Since the evaluation design has a small number of clusters, special attention is paid to the important issue of inference. We use two methods for inference - the wild bootstrap cluster-t method suggested by Cameron et al (2008) and randomisation inference – and show that both provide similar results. This paper is the first to establish that non-health choices, particularly parental labour supply, are affected by parents’ knowledge of the child health production function.


More on this topic

Press release
New NHS figures released today show that there were 6.73 million people waiting for NHS treatment in June 2022.
IFS Working Paper W22/30
This paper provides new evidence on the role senior doctors play in determining patient outcomes.
Press release
New IFS research published today shows that there was considerable regional inequality in the effectiveness of doctors treating heart attack patients in different parts of England between 2005 and 2018.
Briefing note
We use data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, collected during 2021, to learn more about the characteristics of long COVID sufferers, and to assess the impact long COVID has on labour market outcomes including hours, earnings and employment.
Press release
New IFS research shows that it is likely that around 110,000 people are missing from work at any one time as a result of long COVID.