NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight

Janet Currie, Rosemary Hyson

NBER Working Paper No. 6999
Issued in March 1999
NBER Program(s):   CH

This paper examines the long-term effects of low birthweight (LBW) on educational attainments, labor market outcomes, and health status using data from the National Child Development Study. The study has followed the cohort of children born in Great Britain during one week in 1958 through age 33. We pay particular attentionto possible interactions between LBS and socio-economic status (SES), asking to what extent the deleterious effects of LBW are mitigated by higher SES. We find that LBW has significant long-term effects on self-reported health status, educational attainments, and labor market outcomes. However, there is little evidence of variation in the effects of LBW by SES. An important exception is that high SES women of LBW are less likely to report that they are in poor or fair health than other LBW women.

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Published: American Economic Review, Vol. 89, no. 2 (May 1999): 245-250.

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