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Summaries of RCT Grants

Longer-term follow-up of the Baby’s First Years large-scale RCT

This project will fund longer-term follow-up of an ongoing large-scale randomized controlled trial — entitled Baby’s First Years — evaluating the impact of providing low-income mothers of newborn children with monthly cash payments for the first 48 months of their children’s lives.

Grant recipient: Teachers College, Columbia University

Term: August 2021 – July 2022

Principal Investigators:

Katherine Magnuson, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Kimberly Noble, MD, PhD, Teachers College, Columbia University

Greg Duncan, PhD, University of California, Irvine

Nathan Fox, PhD, University of Maryland, College Park

Lisa Gennetian, Duke University

Hirokazu Yoshikawa, New York University

Funding: $500,000

Summary: This project will fund longer-term follow-up of an ongoing large-scale randomized controlled trial — entitled Baby’s First Years — evaluating the impact of providing low-income mothers of newborn children with monthly cash payments for the first 48 months of their children’s lives. Such evidence has the potential to inform ongoing policy discussion regarding the potential impact of cash payments to families with young children.

Mothers with incomes below the poverty level were recruited to participate in the study shortly after giving birth in 12 hospitals in New York City, NY, New Orleans, LA, Omaha, NE, and the Minneapolis/​St. Paul, MN. The study randomly assigned approximately 1,000 pairs of mothers and their newborn children to either a treatment group that received $333 per month for 48 months (for a total of $15,984), or to a control group that received $20 per month for 48 months (for a total of $960).

The RCT is measuring the effects of these cash payments on a wide range of maternal, child, and family outcomes. Final outcome data collection had originally been scheduled to take place at sample children’s third birthdays, but the pandemic disrupted these data collection efforts. The grant from Arnold Ventures supports extension of the study’s follow-up period for an additional year, through sample children’s fourth birthdays. Additionally, under this grant, the research team has pre-specified one primary outcome and one secondary outcome on which they will report to Arnold Ventures at the children’s age 4 follow-up: children’s executive functioning as measured by the Minnesota Executive Function Scale App and maternal employment. 

The study’s pre-specified analysis plan under this grant will be posted shortly; the study’s comprehensive pre-analysis plans, which were prepared at earlier dates, are available here.

Grants

Arnold Ventures funds projects to understand problems and identify policy solutions.

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