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Does Participation in Transfer Programs During Pregnancy Improve Birth Weight?

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  • Janet Currie
  • Nancy Cole

Abstract

A primary goal of transfer programs to the non-aged, non-disabled poor in the United States is to improve the well-being of children in poor families. Thus it is surprising that most of the considerable research which has been devoted to the study of transfer programs focuses on the incentive effects of the programs for parents rather than on the question of whether parental participation in such programs measurably benefits children. This paper begins to fill this gap in the literature by examining the relationship between a mother's participation during pregnancy in Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the Food Stamp Program, or housing assistance, and one of the least controversial measures of child welfare: the birth weight. We do not find any statistically significant relationship between a mother's participation in these programs during pregnancy and the birth weight of her child. However, it should be kept in mind that birth weight is only one measure of child welfare and that these entitlement programs may well have positive impacts on the health and development of children once they are born.

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Currie & Nancy Cole, 1991. "Does Participation in Transfer Programs During Pregnancy Improve Birth Weight?," NBER Working Papers 3832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3832
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3832.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Del Bono, Emilia & Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2008. "Intrafamily resource allocations: a dynamic model of birth weight," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-27, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. repec:eee:pubeco:v:166:y:2018:i:c:p:27-38 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Wankyo Chung & Beomsoo Kim, 2012. "Money Transfer and Birth Weight: A Causal Link from Alaska," Discussion Paper Series 1202, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
    4. Hope Corman & Stephen Chaikind, 1993. "The Effect of Low Birthweight on the Health, Behavior, and School Performance of School-Aged Children," NBER Working Papers 4409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Charles L. Baum II, 2010. "The Effects of Food Stamps on Weight Gained by Expectant Mothers," Working Papers 201002, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
    6. Corman, Hope & Chaikind, Stephen, 1998. "The effect of low birthweight on the school performance and behavior of school-aged children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 307-316, June.
    7. 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.
    8. Korenman, Sanders & Miller, Jane E. & Sjaastad, John E., 1995. "Long-term poverty and child development in the United States: Results from the NLSY," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 127-155.
    9. S. Korenman & J. E. Miller & J. E. Sjaastad, "undated". "Long- term poverty and child development in the United States: Results from the NLSY," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1044-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.

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