The Interaction of Birth Weight, Gestation, and Parental Investment in the Production of Cognitive Development
David Loughran, RAND
Ashlesha Datar, RAND
Rebecca Kilburn, RAND
Low birthweight is correlated with a variety of poor health and cognitive outcomes at both younger and older ages. In this paper, we estimate models of children's achievement scores as a function of birth weight using data from the NLSY Child sample. Data on siblings permit us to control for family-level heterogeneity and test how the effect of birth weight on achievement scores varies with age and grade attainment. We also pay careful attention to how parameters estimates vary across different measures of birthweight and gestational age. Additionally, we investigate whether parental investment in the form of delayed kindergarten entrance compensates for the negative effect of low birthweight on subsequent achievement scores.