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The Special Education Costs of Low Birthweight


  • Stephen Chaikind
  • Hope Corman


This paper investigates the relationship between low birthweight, enrollment in special education and special education costs in the united states. we use the Child Health Supplement to the 1988 National Health Interview Survey, obtaining a sample of approximately 8,000 children aged 6 to 15 who are in school. For these children, we calculate the probability of attending special education, holding constant, individual, family and regional variables. We find that children who weighed less than 2500 grams at birth are almost; fifty percent more likely to be enrolled in any type of special education than children who were of normal weight at birth. Since previous studies have found the incremental cost, of special education (1989-1990) to be $4,350 per student, this results in an incremental cost; of special education of $370.8 million (1989-1990) per year due to low birth weight, holding other characteristics constant, these costs, which were conservatively estimated, imply that previous studies, which considered only medical expenditures, substantially underestimate the full cost; of low birthweight.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Chaikind & Hope Corman, 1990. "The Special Education Costs of Low Birthweight," NBER Working Papers 3461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3461
    Note: HE

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    Cited by:

    1. Currie, Janet & Grogger, Jeffrey, 2002. "Medicaid expansions and welfare contractions: offsetting effects on prenatal care and infant health?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 313-335, March.
    2. Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 1996. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Changes in the Medicaid Eligibility of Pregnant Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1263-1296, December.
    3. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women," NBER Working Papers 4644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan Gruber & Phillip Levine & Douglas Staiger, 1999. "Abortion Legalization and Child Living Circumstances: Who is the "Marginal Child"?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 263-291.
    5. Jane Sneddon Little, 1991. "Why state medicaid costs vary: a first look," Working Papers 91-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    6. Mary Beth Walker & Sally Wallace, 1998. "The implications of current policies on the production of infant health," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(9), pages 1177-1186.

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