Curriculum Reforms and Infant Health

Tuesday, June 25, 2019: 11:00 AM
Jackson - Mezzanine Level (Marriott Wardman Park Hotel)

Presenter: Bahadir Dursun

Discussant: Emmanuelle Arpin

We examine the effects of high school curriculum reforms on infant health by exploiting sharp and staggered changes across states in core course requirements for graduation. Our results suggest that curriculum reforms significantly reduced the incidence of low birth weight and prematurity for black mothers. For white mothers, the estimated effects are small and they are generally insignificant. Improvements in maternal health behaviors and labor market outcomes appear to explain a non-negligible fraction of the observed effects. Finally, we calculate a large social gain induced by favorable infant health outcomes. Several robustness checks and different placebo tests support our findings.

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