Bald, A., Chyn, E., Hastings, J., & Machelett, M. (2022). The Causal Impact of Removing Children from Abusive and Neglectful Homes. Journal of Political Economy, 130(7), 1919–1962. Link.


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.