Money transfer and birth weight: Evidence from the Alaska permanent fund dividend

Wankyo Chung, Hyungserk Ha, Beomsoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


The positive relationship between income and health is well established. However, the direction of causality remains unclear: do economic resources influence health, or vice versa? Exploiting a new source of exogenous income variation, this study examines the impact of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (APFD) on newborns' health outcomes. The results show that income has a significantly positive, but modest effect on birth weight. We find that an additional $1,000 ($2,331 in 2011 dollars) increases birth weight by 17.7 g and substantially decreases the likelihood of a low birth weight (a decrease of around 14% of the sample mean). Furthermore, the income effect is higher for less-educated mothers. Based on a gestation-weight profile in the sample, increased gestation owing to the APFD could explain a maximum of 34%-57% of the measured weight increase, although we are unable to examine all the potential mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-590
Number of pages15
JournalEconomic Inquiry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Western Economic Association International.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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