This paper examines 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 generally insignificant. We also explore the mechanisms for observed effects and provide evidence consistent with our explanations. 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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© 2022 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology