Working Papers

The Causal Impact of Removing Children from Abusive and Neglectful Homes (with Eric Chyn, Justine Hastings, and Margarita Machelett). NBER Working Paper #25419. Revised September 2019. Under review.


This paper measures impacts of removing children from families investigated for abuse or neglect. We use removal tendencies of child protection investigators as an instrument. We focus on young children investigated before age 6 and find that removal significantly increases test scores and reduces grade repetition for girls. There are no detectable impacts for boys. This pattern of results does not appear to be driven by heterogeneity in pre-removal characteristics, foster placements, or the type of schools attended after removal. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that development of abused and neglected girls is more responsive to home removal.

View the working paper here.

Research in Progress

What Predicts Student Achievement? New Evidence from Big Data (with Samantha Gold, Justine Hastings, Mark Howison, and Jonah Rockoff). August 2019.