This paper provides evidence for the effectiveness of performance pay to government health workers and how performance pay interacts with demand-side information. In a controlled study covering 145 child day-care centers, I implement three separate treatments. First, I engineer an exogenous change in compensation for childcare workers from fixed wages to performance pay. Second, I only provide mothers with information without incentivizing the workers. Third, I combine the first two treatments. This helps us identify if performance pay and public information are complements or substitutes in reducing child malnutrition. I find that combining incentives to workers andinformation to mothers reduces weight-for-age malnutrition by 4.2 percentage points in 3 months, although individually the effects are negligible. This complementarity is shown to be driven by better mother–worker communication and the mother feeding more calorific food at home. There is also a sustained long-run positive impact of the combined treatment after the experiment concluded.
Performance pay and information: Reducing child undernutrition in India
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization Vol. 112