Intergenerational Impacts of an Early Childhood Intervention: Evidence from the World's Largest Early Childhood Program


While a large body of work from around the world highlights the impacts of early childhood development programs for individuals who are exposed to these programs, much less is known about the spillovers of such programs on the next generation. To study these effects, we use historical administrative data from the rollout of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program in India, the largest early childhood development program in the world. We find positive health impacts for the children of mothers who were exposed to the ICDS along dimensions of infant mortality, stunting, underweight, and low birth weight. Mothers exposed to the ICDS invested more in their children: they were more likely to take iron tablets when pregnant, vaccinate their children, and provide a nutritious diet for their children. Overall, we find no intergenerational impacts from fathers. Maternal education and wealth are key mechanisms and controlling for these variables attenuate the impacts that we find. We conduct a cost-benefit analysis and find that accounting for the intergenerational impacts on child health increases the internal rate of return to the program by 30%. 

About the Speaker

Saravana Ravindran is an Assistant Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from New York University in 2019 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles from 2019 - 2020. Saravana also holds MSc Economics and BSc Econometrics and Mathematical Economics degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His primary research interests are in development economics and applied microeconomics, particularly in the areas of human capital formation, migration, and digital financial services. He has a keen interest in early childhood development programs, their direct and indirect impacts, and aggregate welfare consequences.  More on his personal website >>

To Attend the Event

The event will take place on 22 September 2020 Tuesday at 11:00 am HKT == 1:00 pm AEST == 12:00 pm JST. (See corresponding times for different times zones).The online meeting room will be locked at around 11:20.  Please note that this webinar's start time is different from previous webinars in the series.  

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The webinar will be locked at around 11:20am.  

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House Rules

  • We would like the webinar to be interactive. Attendees will be promoted to "panelists" to allow interaction with the speaker over camera and mic.  Please join with both audio and video available whenever possible.
  • It is advised to mute yourself when you are not speaking. This prevents any distractions due to background noise.
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  • This talk will be recorded for internal use only.  


This webinar is part of a series of Zoom events that explores issues in growth and development in India. The series' academic committee consists of Takashi Kurosaki (Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study), Pushkar Maitra (Monash University and Sujata Visaria (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology).    

The next webinar in the series will be 

6 October 11:00am

Prashant Bharadwaj

UC San Diego

Long Term Impacts of Exposure to the Bhopal Gas Disaster