Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University
Several recent studies show that poor neonatal health (proxied by low birth weight) has persistent effects into adulthood by reducing both an individual's level of educational attainment as well as adult earnings, but little is known about effects before age 18. This paper makes use of a large new population of twins from Florida to study this question. We find that the effects of poor neonatal health on student outcomes are remarkably invariant. The estimates are virtually identical from third grade through tenth grade. They are the same regardless of whether a student attended a "better" school versus a "worse" school, across racial and ethnic groups, and across maternal education levels. These results suggest an important potential role for early childhood and early elementary investments in remediating this persistent condition.