Do Public Expenditures Improve Child Outcomes in the U.S.? A Comparison Across Fifty States
University of California, Berkeley - Department of Health Policy and Management
Columbia University - National Center for Children in Poverty
Timothy M. Smeeding
University of Wisconsin - Madison, Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
University of Massachusetts at Amherst - College of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Department of Economics
Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Columbia University - School of Social Work
March 1, 2003
Center for Policy Research Working Paper No. 53
Our paper utilizes variation across the 50 U.S. states to examine the relationship between public expenditures on children and child outcomes. We find that public expenditures on children are related to better child outcomes across a wide range of indicators including measures of child mortality, elementary-school test scores, and adolescent behavioral outcomes. States that spend more on children have better child outcomes even after taking into account potential confounding influences. Our results are robust to numerous variations in model specifications and to the inclusion of proxies for unobserved characteristics of states. Our sensitivity analyses suggest that the results we present may be conservative, yet our findings show that public investments in children yield broad short-term returns in the form of improved child outcomes.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
JEL Classification: J13, I38working papers series
Date posted: April 16, 2011
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