This project will extend a longitudinal (panel) dataset of individuals who were participants in one or more randomized health, skills training, and financial capital interventions during childhood and adolescence. The existing dataset (collected with partial support from previous NIH/NICHD funding) contains detailed information on health, educational, nutritional, demographic, social, and labor market outcomes among a sample of thousands of Kenyans during 1998-2016. The current project will extend the panel for an additional four years, through 2020, expanding it to monitor these now fully-fledged adults (aged 26-37 years) as they work and (often) raise their families. The project will gather rich and innovative data on the adults, as well as detailed information on the health, nutrition, and behavioral and cognitive development of their children. The resulting 22-year longitudinal data set will allow the study team to exploit experimental variation to credibly estimate the long-run, and intergenerational, impacts of three distinct interventions that aim to improve youth outcomes. Specifically, the project will interview at least 6,500 adult respondents in the Kenya Life Panel Survey (KLPS), and collect information from 7,200 children aged 3-9. The KLPS sample contains Kenyans who participated in one or more experimental programs providing health investments, skills training, or cash grants. The health study, the Primary School Deworming Program (PSDP), provided deworming medication to rural Kenyan schools starting in 1998. Previous research finds that this intervention had substantial positive impacts on the health, schooling, living standards, labor market hours, and earnings of beneficiaries 10 years after treatment. A subset of PSDP participants additionally took part in a program that provided vocational training vouchers to randomly selected program applicants in 2009-10, and cash grants to a (cross-cutting) randomly selected subpopulation in 2013-14. Initial results provide little evidence of labor market impacts of the vocational training program, but indicate that the cash grants led to large positive impacts on self-employment, business profits, and living standards after one year. The planned data collection will assess long-run persistence of deworming impacts on life outcomes 20 years after treatment, of vocational training after 10 years, and cash grants after 5 years. This project will also estimate the impacts of these interventions among recipients' children, in order to assess the extent to which they can help break the intergenerational transmission of poverty by improving child health and cognitive development. Since the selection of beneficiaries for each program was randomized, the analysis will overcome the key methodological problem of confounding. More accurate information on both the long-term and intergenerational impacts of youth human capital investments is both of great scholarly interest across academic disciplines, and essential for policymakers in Kenya and elsewhere attempting to assess the societal benefits and cost-effectiveness of programs that aim to improve youth health, human capital and living standards.
This project estimates the causal impact of health, skills, and financial investments made during childhood and adolescence on recipients' long-run life outcomes, as well as on the health and cognitive development of recipients' children, exploiting experimental variation to overcome the key methodological challenge of confounding. The research builds on the existing Kenya Life Panel Survey longitudinal dataset, which contains detailed information on individual health, education, social, and labor market outcomes over an exceptionally long timeframe (1998-2016). The project will extend this unusual panel dataset through 2020 for 6,500 adults and 7,200 of their children, and estimate the extent to which the youth human capital and financial interventions can improve long-run living standards, and help break the intergenerational transmission of poverty.