Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: A Cash Transfer Program for Older Persons in Yucatan, Mexico: Effects on Food Consumption and Nutrition

Friday, November 13, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Nelly J Mejia Gonzalez, Pardee RAND Graduate School and Emma Aguila, University of Southern California
This is the first study addressing the effects on food consumption and nutrition of a cash transfer program targeting poor elderly. We use a cash transfer experiment we designed in the state of Yucatan in Mexico for residents 70 y and older to evaluate food consumption impacts of additional income. Two cities in the State of Yucatan, Valladolid (treatment) and Motul (control), were selected for the cash transfer experiment. Elderly residents of Valladolid were provided the equivalent of an additional $67 per month, a 44% increase in average household income. We designed a survey given to residents of both cities before and 6 months after the cash transfer about their frequency of food consumption and other aspects of overall well-being. Both baseline and follow-up surveys collect self-reported data on diet, health, and biomarkers. Anthropometric measurements for every age-eligible respondent, including height and weight were collected. Our results show a significant change in the frequency of food intake associated with the additional income. Relative to the control site, there was a statistically significant decrease in the weekly demand of tortillas and sweet bread and a decrease in the prevalence of anemia. Food security measured by the proportion of elderly people reporting that they or another member in their households did not eat because they could not buy enough food or did not have enough money to buy food also decreased among the treatment site in comparison to the control one. Residents do not report any significant loss of weight without trying or dieting.