The Returns to Early-life Interventions for Very Low Birth Weight Children
We use comprehensive administrative data from Rhode Island to measure the impact of early-life interventions for low birth weight newborns on later-life outcomes. We use a regression discontinuity design based on the 1,500-gram threshold for Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) status. We show that threshold crossing causes more intense in-hospital care, in line with prior studies. Threshold crossing also causes a 0.34 standard deviation increase in test scores in elementary and middle school, a 17.1 percentage point increase in the probability of college enrollment, and $66,997 decrease in social program expenditures by age 14. We explore potential mechanisms driving these impacts.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25753