The Long Run Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families

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Speaker: Shari Eli

Date/Time: November 14, 10 AM – 12 PM


We estimate the long-run impact of cash transfers to poor families on children’s longevity, educational attainment, nutritional status, and income in adulthood. To do so, we collected individual-level administrative records of applicants to the Mothers’ Pension program—the first government-sponsored welfare program in the US (1911-1935) —and matched them to census, WWII and death records. Male children of accepted applicants lived one year longer than those of rejected mothers. Male children of accepted mothers received one-third more years of schooling, were less likely to be underweight, and had higher income in adulthood than children of rejected mothers.


Shari Eli is an assistant professor in the Economics Department at the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. in economics from U.C. Berkeley. Her fields of interest are Economic History, Health Economics and Economic Demography. One section of her research explores the ways in which individuals of low socioeconomic status used income to improve health status and attain higher education and earnings levels during the late 19th and early 20th century. Another section investigates the relationship between caloric needs and rising household expenditure levels in India today to resolve calorie consumption puzzles. Shari is a Faculty Associate of the Canadian Centre for Health Economics. She is also a Faculty Affiliate at the Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of Toronto.

Link to paper:  Aizer_Eli_Ferrie_Lleras-Muney (.pdf file)