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The Interactive Effect of Birth Weight and Parental Investment on Child Test Scores

  • David S. Loughran
  • Ashlesha Datar
  • M. Rebecca Kilburn

This paper explores how observed and unobserved parental investments compensate for low birth weight. Controlling for family fixed effects, which encompass unobserved parental investment, we find birth weight positively correlates with math and reading scores and these estimates are considerably larger in magnitude than estimates derived from models that do not control for family fixed effects. Additionally, we examine how three specific parental investments - kindergarten entrance age, maternal labor supply, and family size - interact with birth weight in models of child test scores. Of these investments, only smaller family size conveys particular advantage to low birth weight children.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2005/RAND_WR168.pdf
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Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 168.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:168
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  1. Kenneth I. Wolpin & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2000. "Natural "Natural Experiments" in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(4), pages 827-874, December.
  2. Patricio SolĂ­s & Starling G. Pullum & W. Frisbie, 2000. "Demographic models of birth outcomes and infant mortality: An alternative measurement approach," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 489-498, November.
  3. Jason Boardman & Daniel Powers & Yolanda Padilla & Robert Hummer, 2002. "Low birth weight, social factors, and developmental outcomes among children in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 353-368, May.
  4. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
  5. Charles L. Baum II, 2003. "Does Early Maternal Employment Harm Child Development? An Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Leave Taking," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 381-408, April.
  6. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2001. "The effect of grade retention on educational and labor market outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 563-576, December.
  7. Datar, Ashlesha, 2006. "Does delaying kindergarten entrance give children a head start?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 43-62, February.
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