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Family Income and Birth Weights
Esther Toledano, Roni Frish, Noam Zussman, Daniel Gottlieb
Abstract
Previous research has shown that low birth weights have negative effects on outcomes throughout life. Using administrative data from the Israeli Ministry of Health and the Israeli National Insurance Institute, this study examines the relationship between family income and singletons' birth weights in Israel during 1995-2007. Raw data display a positive correlation between parents' socioeconomic characteristics, including income, and their children's birth weights. However, examining the effect of exogenous changes in family income – such as variations in the amount of child allowances – on birth weights (including for the same mother) reveals that the causal relationship is for the most part statistically insignificant. Even when a statistically significant causal relationship is detected, it is weak, and according to the literature would have no effect on outcomes throughout the life.
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