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The Role of Neonatal Health in the Incidence of Childhood Disability (WP-19-14)

Todd Elder, David Figlio, Scott Imberman, and Claudia Persico

The researchers use linked birth and education records for all children born in Florida between 1992 and 2002 to assess the effects of neonatal health on the identification of childhood disabilities. They find that several measures of neonatal health are associated with disability incidence, although birthweight plays the most empirically relevant role. Using large samples of siblings and twins, the researchers find that infant health influences multiple measures of disability and grade repetition in school. The association between birthweight and disability holds throughout the distribution of birthweight and across a range of socioeconomic characteristics, including maternal education and race.

Todd Elder, Professor of Economics, Michigan State University

David Figlio, Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and IPR Fellow

Scott Imberman, Associate Professor of Economics, Michigan State University

Claudia Persico, Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Policy, American University

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