Ghana's Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (1000) Program Seasonally Impacts Birthweight: A Difference-in-Differences Analysis

Low birthweight (LBW) prevalence remains high in African countries and evidence of cash transfer impacts on birthweight, particularly by season of infant birth, is limited. This study examines overall and seasonal cash transfer impacts on LBW in rural Ghana. Data come from a longitudinal, quasi-experimental impact evaluation of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) 1,000 unconditional cash transfer program for impoverished pregnant or lactating women in rural districts of Northern Ghana. LEAP1000 program impacts on average birthweight and LBW were estimated for a multiply imputed sample of 3,258 and a panel sample of 1,567 infants using differences-in-differences models and triple difference models to assess impacts by season. Our findings of positive LEAP1000 impacts on birthweight across seasons and on LBW in the dry season demonstrate the need to take seasonal vulnerabilities into account when designing and implementing programs for rural populations in Africa.