Working Paper

Does Unconditional Cash during Pregnancy Affect Infant Health?

Abstract: This paper examines how cash transfers that are not conditional on employment affect infant health. Leveraging variation in the amount of pandemic-era stimulus and child tax credit payments that families received based on household composition, I find that an additional $100 in transfers reduces the prevalence of low birthweight by 2-3 percent. Effects are larger for payments received later in pregnancy, but are of a similar magnitude across the population. These additional resources increased prenatal care and improved maternal health in ways that are consistent with families both increasing investments in children's health and improving the prenatal environment.

Keywords: Infant health; Tax policy; Cash transfers;

JEL Classification: H24; I12; I38;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Part of Series: Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers

Publication Date: 2023-05-18

Number: 072