Early Life Health Interventions and Academic Achievement


This paper studies the effect of improved early life health care on mortality and long-run academic achievement in school. We use the idea that medical treatments often follow rules of thumb for assigning care to patients, such as the classification of Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW), which assigns infants special care at a specific birth weight cutoff. Using detailed administrative data on schooling and birth records from Chile and Norway, we establish that children who receive extra medical care at birth have lower mortality rates and higher test scores and grades in school. These gains are in the order of 0.15-0.22 standard deviations.

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  • Coauthors: Prashant Bharadwaj, Katrine Vellesen Løken
  • Published: American Economic Review, Vol. 103, No. 5, August 2013, (pp. 1862-91)
  • Date: 2013
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