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Last Published July 08, 2019 12:42 PM July 09, 2019 09:26 PM
Intervention (Public) Intervention: $333 monthly cash gift payments to mothers each month for the first 40 months of their baby's lives via debit card. Active Comparator: $20 monthly cash gift payments each month for the first 40 months of their baby's lives via debit card. We are randomly assigning 1,000 US low-income mothers and their newborns in four ethnically and geographically diverse metropolitan areas to either (1) an experimental group that receives $333 in cash payments each month ($4,000 each year) for each of the first 40 months of the children’s lives, with the first payments occurring shortly after the baby’s birth and this experimental condition extended to 40% of the participants, or (2) an active comparator group that receives much smaller payments ($20 per month) extended to 60% of participants. Based on our and others’ prior work, the $3,760 annual difference will be large enough to produce and detect meaningful differences in children’s cognitive development. Moreover, to understand how poverty reduction improves brain functioning, we have three follow-up waves of data collection conducted at child ages 12, 24 and 36 months. Cognitive and emotional development measures will be gathered at 12, 24, and 36 months of age. At the age-three lab visit we will administer validated, reliable and developmentally sensitive measures of language, memory, executive functioning and socioemotional skills. We will also collect direct measures of young children’s brain development at ages 1 and 3. We have secured the appropriate exemptions or approvals, ensuring that the mothers will not lose eligibility for public benefits as a result of our cash transfer. Our cash payments will be exempted from countable income in the determination of benefits from relevant programs, including TANF, SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, Housing Choice Vouchers, child care subsidies, and Head Start.
Intervention (Hidden) We are randomly assigning 1,000 US low-income mothers and their newborns in four ethnically and geographically diverse metropolitan areas to either (1) an experimental group that receives $333 in cash payments each month ($4,000 each year) for each of the first 40 months of the children’s lives, with the first payments occurring shortly after the baby’s birth and this experimental condition extended to 40% of the participants, or (2) an active comparator group that receives much smaller payments ($20 per month) extended to 60% of participants. Based on our and others’ prior work, the $3,760 annual difference will be large enough to produce and detect meaningful differences in children’s cognitive development. Moreover, to understand how poverty reduction improves brain functioning, at ages one and two we will measure family context that we expect links poverty to development: parent stress, family expenditures, routines and time use and parenting practices, and child care arrangements. Rigorous laboratory measures of children’s cognitive, emotional, and brain development, as well as measures of health, stress and behavior, will be gathered at age three. We have secured the appropriate exemptions or approvals, ensuring that the mothers will not lose eligibility for public benefits as a result of our cash transfer. Our cash payments will be exempted from countable income in the determination of benefits from relevant programs, including TANF, SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, Housing Choice Vouchers, child care subsidies, and Head Start.
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