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Does prenatal WIC participation improve birth outcomes? New evidence from Florida

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  • Figlio, David
  • Hamersma, Sarah
  • Roth, Jeffrey

Abstract

We study the effects of prenatal receipt of nutritional and educational services provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on birth outcomes. Our identification strategy consists of two elements: (1) identifying families in a very tight income range surrounding the WIC eligibility threshold; and (2) exploiting a policy change that differentially influenced the WIC takeup rates of the families on each side of the eligibility threshold. We conduct this analysis by merging three large statewide administrative datasets from Florida concerning all births during the period 1997-2001. We match the birth records of infants and the school records of their older siblings in order to relatively precisely identify "marginally eligible" and "marginally ineligible" families that are very similar in their observable characteristics. We find that WIC participation has no effect on mean birth weight and gestational age, but substantially reduces the likelihood of adverse birth outcomes, e.g. birth weights below 2500Â g.

Suggested Citation

  • Figlio, David & Hamersma, Sarah & Roth, Jeffrey, 2009. "Does prenatal WIC participation improve birth outcomes? New evidence from Florida," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 235-245, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:1-2:p:235-245
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ted Joyce & Diane Gibson & Silvie Colman, 2004. "The Changing Association Between Prenatal Participation in WIC and Birth Outcomes in New York City," NBER Working Papers 10796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Cash-on-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1511-1560.
    3. Ted Joyce & Andrew Racine & Cristina Yunzal-Butler, 2008. "Reassessing the WIC effect: Evidence from the Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 277-303.
    4. Swann Christopher A, 2007. "The Timing of Prenatal WIC Participation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-27, January.
    5. Marianne P. Bitler & Janet Currie, 2005. "Does WIC work? The effects of WIC on pregnancy and birth outcomes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 73-91.
    6. Jens Ludwig & Matthew Miller, 2005. "Interpreting the WIC debate," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 691-701.
    7. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    8. Ted Joyce & Diane Gibson & Silvie Colman, 2005. "The changing association between prenatal participation in WIC and birth outcomes in New York City," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 661-685.
    9. M. H. Khalil Timamy, 2005. "Debate," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(104-105), pages 383-393, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 15, pages 1315-1486, Elsevier.
    2. Yunwei Gai & Li Feng, 2012. "Effects of Federal Nutrition Program on Birth Outcomes," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 40(1), pages 61-83, March.
    3. repec:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:23:p:2216-2225 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hinnosaar, Marit, 2018. "How long do healthy habits last? The role of prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 12815, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Haeck, Catherine & Lefebvre, Pierre, 2016. "A simple recipe: The effect of a prenatal nutrition program on child health at birth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 77-89.
    6. Hoynes, Hilary & Page, Marianne & Stevens, Ann Huff, 2011. "Can targeted transfers improve birth outcomes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 813-827.
    7. Manan Roy, 2012. "Identifying the Effect of WIC on Infant Health When Participation is Endogenous and Misreported," Departmental Working Papers 1202, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    8. Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2013. "WIC in your neighborhood: New evidence on the impacts of geographic access to clinics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 51-69.
    9. repec:eee:jeeman:v:94:y:2019:i:c:p:236-253 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9328-y is not listed on IDEAS

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