Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Bergen, Department of Economics


Prashant Bharadwaj (), Katrine V. Løken () and Christopher Neilson ()
Additional contact information
Prashant Bharadwaj: Economics, UC San Diego
Katrine V. Løken: Department of Economics, University of Bergen
Christopher Neilson: Department of Economics, Yale University

Abstract: This paper studies the effect of improved neonatal 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.

Keywords: Very low birth weight; academic achievement; regression discontinuity

JEL-codes: I11; I38; J13

71 pages, July 24, 2012

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