The effects of better houses on infant health

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2020-12
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This paper examines the effects of better houses on infant health in the context of Brazil’s Minha Casa Minha Vida program, which built roughly 900,000 houses to poor households in Brazil during the period 2010-2017. We use a regression discontinuity design and administrative data to estimate the program’s effects on health at birth and infant health. We find the program reduced the share of households living in inadequate houses by 18 percentage points. We find this improvement in housing conditions led to increases in birth weight and decreases in infant (before 1 year) mortality caused by conditions originating in children’s perinatal period. We find no effect of the program in children with more than one year. Our results point out the importance of better houses in improving health at birth.


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