Mitigating the Effects of Low Birth Weight: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Adoptees
Infants who are underweight at birth earn less, score lower on tests, and become less educated as adults. Previous studies have found mixed evidence that socioeconomic status mitigates these effects. In this paper, we reconcile these findings using a unique data set in which adoptees were quasi-randomly assigned to families. We find that median income within a zip code mitigates the effects of low birth weight, as in Currie and Moretti (2007). Interactions between low birth weight and other family characteristics are not statistically significant, which is consistent with Currie and Hyson (1999). These results cannot be explained by differences in genetics, prenatal health care, or neonatal health care.
Saavedra, Martin, and Brian Beach. 2015. "Mitigating the Effects of Low Birth Weight: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Adoptees." American Journal of Health Economics 1(3): 275-296.
American Journal of Health Economics