Does Prenatal WIC Participation Improve Child Outcomes?
Large literatures document positive effects of WIC on birth outcomes, and separately connect health at birth and future outcomes. But little research investigates the link between prenatal WIC participation and childhood outcomes. We explore this question using a unique data set from South Carolina which links administrative birth, Medicaid, and education records. We find that relative to their siblings, prenatal WIC participants have a lower incidence of ADHD and other common childhood mental health conditions and of grade repetition. These findings demonstrate that a “WIC start” results in persistent improvements in child outcomes across a range of domains.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24691