article by Sarah Baird, Joan Hamory Hicks, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel

Michael Kremer, Edward Miguel, Sarah Baird, and Joan Hamory Hicks returned to the site of a former childhood de-worming intervention ten years after the fact to assess the impacts of the intervention on labor market outcomes. They find that both boys and girls who had access to the treatment fared better on plenty of the important labor market indicators, and that the program might just pay for itself through increased tax revenue. Overall, this paper and its predecessors make a strong case for the benefits of this simple and relatively inexpensive intervention.

These papers had generated a fair amount of controversy, with other voices proposing that the interventions weren’t up to the hype. We won’t go into that here, but you can follow it yourself if you’d like with some of the articles here.



 This study estimates long-run impacts of a child health investment, exploiting community-wide experimental variation in school-based deworming. The program increased labor supply among men and education among women, with accompanying shifts in labor market specialization. Ten years after deworming treatment, men who were eligible as boys stay enrolled for more years of primary school, work 17% more hours each week, spend more time in non-agricultural self-employment, are more likely to hold manufacturing jobs, and miss one fewer meal per week. Women who were in treatment schools as girls are approximately one quarter more likely to have attended secondary school, halving the gender gap. They reallocate time from traditional agriculture into cash crops and non-agricultural self-employment. We estimate a conservative annualized financial internal rate of return to deworming of 32%, and show that mass deworming may generate more in future government revenue than it costs in subsidies. (JEL codes: I10, I20, J24, O15)



Baird, Sarah, Joan Hamory Hicks, Michael Kremer, and Edward Miguel. 2016. “Worms at Work: Long-Run Impacts of a Child Health investment.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 131 (4): 1637-1680.