Can agricultural development programs improve health-related outcomes? AMA Innovation Lab researchers exploited a spatial discontinuity in the coverage of a large-scale agricultural extension program in Uganda to causally identify its effects on malaria.
The study found that eligibility for the program reduced the proportion of household members with malaria by 8.9 percentage points, with children and pregnant women experiencing substantial improvements. An examination of the underlying mechanisms indicates that an increase in income and the resulting increase in the ownership and usage of bednets may have played a role.
Taken together, these results signify the importance of financial constraints in investments for malaria prevention and the potential role that agricultural development can play in easing it.