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Impact of Income Maintenance on Low Birth Weight: Evidence from the Gary Experiment


  • Barbara H. Kehrer
  • Charles M. Wolin


Birth weight is a useful index of infant health. Low birth weight (5.5 pounds or less) is associated with high rates of infant mortality and morbidity. Low birth weight is also associated with low socioeconomic status. The question arises, therefore, whether income transfers can affect the incidence of low birth weight among the poor. The impact of an expanded income support plan on low birth weight was analyzed using data on 404 infants born to participants in the Gary Income Maintenance Experiment. A significant health response was observed for children of women who face high-risk pregnancies.

Suggested Citation

  • Barbara H. Kehrer & Charles M. Wolin, 1979. "Impact of Income Maintenance on Low Birth Weight: Evidence from the Gary Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 434-462.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:14:y:1979:i:4:p:434-462

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard V. Burkhauser, 1979. "The Pension Acceptance Decision of Older Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-75.
    2. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-88-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark & Daniel A. Sumner, 1986. "Postretirement Adjustments of Pension Benefits," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 118-137.
    4. Phillip B. Levine & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1988. "The Baby Boom's Legacy: Relative Wages in the 21st Century," NBER Working Papers 2501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven, 1983. "Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi83-1, January.
    6. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
    7. Stock, James H & Wise, David A, 1990. "Pensions, the Option Value of Work, and Retirement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1151-1180, September.
    8. Hutchens, Robert, 1986. "Delayed Payment Contracts and a Firm's Propensity to Hire Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 439-457, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Birch, 1999. "The 39 steps: the mystery of health inequalities in the UK," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 301-308.
    2. James Cramer, 1995. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Birthweight: The Role of Income and Financial Assistance," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(2), pages 231-247, May.
    3. Dora L. Costa, 2015. "Health and the Economy in the United States from 1750 to the Present," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(3), pages 503-570, September.
    4. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Leonard, Jonathan & Mas, Alexandre, 2008. "Welfare reform, time limits, and infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1551-1566, December.
    6. Muennig, Peter & Franks, Peter & Jia, Haomiao & Lubetkin, Erica & Gold, Marthe R, 2005. "The income-associated burden of disease in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(9), pages 2018-2026, November.
    7. Janet Currie, 1994. "Welfare and the Well-Being of Children: The Relative Effectiveness of Cash and In-Kind Transfers," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 8, pages 1-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Muennig, Peter, 2015. "Can universal pre-kindergarten programs improve population health and longevity? Mechanisms, evidence, and policy implications," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 116-123.
    9. Scodellaro, Claire & Khlat, Myriam & Jusot, Florence, 2012. "Intergenerational financial transfers and health in a national sample from France," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(7), pages 1296-1302.
    10. Chloe N. East & Sarah Miller & Marianne Page & Laura R. Wherry, 2017. "Multi-generational Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net: Early Life Exposure to Medicaid and the Next Generation’s Health," NBER Working Papers 23810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Janet Currie, 1998. "The Effect of Welfare on Child Outcomes: What We Know and What We Need to Know," JCPR Working Papers 26, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    12. Douglas Almond & Hilary W. Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2011. "Inside the War on Poverty: The Impact of Food Stamps on Birth Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 387-403, May.
    13. Franks, Peter & Muennig, Peter & Lubetkin, Erica & Jia, Haomiao, 2006. "The burden of disease associated with being African-American in the United States and the contribution of socio-economic status," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(10), pages 2469-2478, May.

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