Barbara L. Wolfe

Barbara L. Wolfe
University of Wisconsin–Madison | UW · Department of Economics

PhD

About

250
Publications
37,360
Reads
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12,488
Citations
Education
September 1968 - August 1973
University of Pennsylvania
Field of study
  • Economics

Publications

Publications (250)
Article
Full-text available
Despite advancements in the study of brain maturation at different developmental epochs, no work has linked the significant neural changes occurring just after birth to the subtler refinements in the brain occurring in childhood and adolescence. We aimed to provide a comprehensive picture regarding foundational neurodevelopment and examine systemat...
Article
Although adoption is a widespread phenomenon in the United States, little research has examined the effects on biological siblings. This article uses two representative datasets to compare educational attainments of individuals who grew up with an adopted sibling and those that did not. We find large heterogeneity (based on sex, family income, and...
Article
Full-text available
Nearly 1 in 5 children in the United States lives in a household whose income is below the official federal poverty line, and more than 40% of children live in poor or near-poor households. Research on the effects of poverty on children's development has been a focus of study for many decades and is now increasing as we accumulate more evidence abo...
Article
We expand on earlier studies investigating the links between early health and later health by including different dimensions of early-life health and multiple life course outcomes consisting of the age of onset of serious cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and multiple job-related health outcomes. The four dimensions of childhood health are mental, phy...
Article
Full-text available
A variety of new research approaches are providing new ways to better understand the developmental mechanisms through which poverty affects children’s development. However, studies of child poverty often characterize samples using different markers of poverty, making it difficult to contrast and reconcile findings across studies. Ideally, scientist...
Article
Drawing on a unique data set that links information on all Wisconsin households receiving means-tested benefits with the educational performance of all Wisconsin public school students in these households, we estimate the effect of a family's initial receipt of housing assistance on students’ subsequent achievement outcomes. We estimate these effec...
Article
Vertebrate stress responses are highly adaptive biological functions, maximizing survival probability in life-threatening situations. However, experiencing repeated and/or chronic stressors can generate physiological dysregulation and lead to disease. Because stress responses are multi-systemic and involve a wide range of physiological functions, i...
Article
Extant literature indicates that early-life health affects later labor market outcomes such as earnings and work effort. We examine whether this holds for multiple dimensions of health and regardless of a country’s health care system. We ask whether mental and physical health problems and poor general health by age 15 have similar or different infl...
Article
This paper explores the effects of experiencing the death of a sibling on children's developmental outcomes. Recent work has shown that experiencing a sibling death is common and long-term effects are large. We extend understanding of these effects by estimating dynamic effects on surviving siblings' cognitive and socioemotional outcomes, as well a...
Article
This article uses data on a sample of retirees drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to examine changes in health over the retirement years and to estimate the effects of health changes in retirement on wealth. Using the framework of item response theory, we develop a novel measure of health that makes use of multiple indicators of physi...
Article
Objectives: To document how health insurance coverage changed for White, Black, and Hispanic adults after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect. Methods: We used data from the American Community Survey from 2008 to 2014 to examine changes in the percentage of nonelderly adults who were uninsured, covered by Medicaid, or covered by priva...
Article
Full-text available
Has access to selective postsecondary schools expanded or contracted? Evaluating this question has proven a difficult task because data are limited, particularly with regard to family income. We complement previous work and provide a replicable model of institutional analysis. This paper presents a detailed, quantitative assessment of admissions at...
Article
Full-text available
Background: In September 2010, the Affordable Care Act increased the availability of private health insurance for young adult dependents in the United States and prohibited coverage exclusions for their pre-existing conditions. The coverage expansion improved young adults' financial protection from medical expenses and increased their mental healt...
Article
On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. This comprehensive health care reform legislation sought to expand health care coverage to millions of Americans, control health care costs, and improve the overall quality of the health care system. The ACA required that all US citizens...
Article
Has access to selective postsecondary schools expanded or contracted? Evaluating this question has proven a difficult task because data are limited, particularly with regard to family income. We complement previous work and provide a replicable model of institutional analysis. This paper presents a detailed, quantitative assessment of admissions at...
Article
Full-text available
In Reply We are delighted that our article1 has continued to increase interest in the ways that growing up in poor families affects children’s health and development. We welcome the Letters to the Editor appearing in this issue of JAMA Pediatrics and concur that the experiences described by the authors are important components of impoverished envir...
Article
Full-text available
Children living in poverty generally perform poorly in school, with markedly lower standardized test scores and lower educational attainment. The longer children live in poverty, the greater their academic deficits. These patterns persist to adulthood, contributing to lifetime-reduced occupational attainment. To determine whether atypical patterns...
Article
Full-text available
There have been numerous attempts to both document the income-health gradient in children and to understand the nature of the tie. In this paper, we review and summarize existing studies, and then use a unique school-based panel data set from the USA to attempt to further our understanding of the relationship. The long duration (5 observations, 9 y...
Article
Full-text available
Developmental disabilities and severe mental illness are costly to the affected individual and frequently to their family as well. Little studied are their nondisabled siblings. Here we examine major life course outcomes (education, employment, and marriage) of these siblings in adulthood using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Our sample...
Article
Full-text available
Living in poverty places children at very high risk for problems across a variety of domains, including schooling, behavioral regulation, and health. Aspects of cognitive functioning, such as information processing, may underlie these kinds of problems. How might poverty affect the brain functions underlying these cognitive processes? Here, we addr...
Article
One of the continuing areas of controversy surrounding higher education is affirmative action. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fisher v. Texas, and their ruling may well influence universities’ diversity initiatives, especially if they overturn Grutter v. Bollinger and rule that diversity is no longer a “compelling state interest.” But what li...
Chapter
Full-text available
Living in poverty places children at very high risk for problems across a variety of domains, including schooling, behavioral regulation, and health. Aspects of cognitive functioning, such as information processing, may underlie these kinds of problems. How might poverty affect the brain functions underlying these cognitive processes? Here, we addr...
Article
Full-text available
Although a large literature analyzes the determinants of child mortality and suggests policy and medical interventions aimed at its reduction, there is little existing analysis illuminating the consequences of child mortality for other family members. In particular, there is little evidence exploring the consequences of experiencing the death of a...
Article
Full-text available
Using a sample of sibling pairs from the PSID-CDS, we examine the effects of sibling health status on early educational outcomes. We find that sibling developmental disability and externalizing behavior ar associated with reductions in math and language achievement Estimated spillovers for developmental disability are large and robust to both a ric...
Article
In this paper we estimate the effect of housing voucher receipt on the composition of recipient households and the quality of the neighborhoods in which recipient households reside. Drawing on a dataset that contains extensive information on a large and diverse panel of low-income families for up to 5 years following voucher receipt, we isolate the...
Article
Full-text available
The legalization of American Indian casino gaming in the late 1980s allows examination of the relationship between income and health in a quasi-experimental way. Revenue from gaming accrues to individual tribes and has been used both to supplement tribe members' income and to finance tribal infrastructure. We assembled annual data from 1988-2003 on...
Article
Using a propensity score matching approach coupled with difference-in-differences regression analysis, we estimate the effect of housing voucher receipt on the employment and earnings of a large longitudinal sample of low-income families for 6years following voucher receipt. Our results indicate that voucher receipt has little effect on employment,...
Article
This paper uses national longitudinal data and several new empirical strategies to examine the consequences of teenage fatherhood. The key contribution is to compare economic outcomes of young fathers to young men whose partners experienced a miscarriage rather than a live birth. The results suggest that teenage fatherhood decreases years of school...
Article
Full-text available
Using a propensity score matching approach coupled with difference-in-differences regression analysis, we estimate the effect of receiving a low-income housing voucher on the employment and earnings, mobility, neighborhood quality, household/family composition and childcare utilization of a large longitudinal sample of low-income families in the U....
Article
There is a well known positive association between family income and children's development, including health and academic performance. This relationship is a potentially importance factor in the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic status and has been shown to be a robust finding across countries and time periods. In contrast, much less...
Article
Full-text available
Retirement years are a precarious time for many older Americans. Even if successful in accumulating resources expected to be sufficient to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living, many retirees face unexpected adverse health shocks after retirement. Because of the uncertainty of shocks to physical and cognitive health, there exists the pot...
Article
Social scientists have repeatedly uncovered a disturbing feature of economic inequality: people with larger incomes and better education tend to lead longer, healthier lives. This pattern holds across all ages and for virtually all measures of health, apparently indicating a biological dimension of inequality. But scholars have only begun to unders...
Article
Analysis of the effectiveness of a small financial incentive and a written reminder to encourage test taking among persons with diabetes who have missed glycosylated hemoglobin (HbAlc) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) screenings. The analysis uses data from the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation medical records of persons dia...
Data
Demographic Variables for Subjects with and without MRI Scans and/or Income. (DOC)
Data
Additional Demographic Summary for full sample (based on Wave 1 data). (DOC)
Article
Full-text available
Facets of the post-natal environment including the type and complexity of environmental stimuli, the quality of parenting behaviors, and the amount and type of stress experienced by a child affects brain and behavioral functioning. Poverty is a type of pervasive experience that is likely to influence biobehavioral processes because children develop...
Article
This paper provides estimates for a comprehensive set of social benefits and costs associated with the federal Housing Choice Voucher ( Section 8) program. The impact categories for which we provide empirical estimates include the value of the voucher to recipients; additional services and public benefits induced by voucher receipt; improvements in...
Article
There is a large and growing literature that explores the tie between children’s health and family income, both in the US and internationally. At the core, this literature attempts to tie income to health by comparing the pattern over children as they age and by using base health and contemporaneous health to distinguish the influence of permanent...
Article
Full-text available
The authors examine the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. They describe the existing structure of the U.S. health-care system, identify its major weaknesses, describe the primary features introduced by the act, and offer their appraisal of the reform.
Article
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most prevalent mental health problems facing children. Little is known of the long-term consequences of ADHD on young adult outcomes. We examine the associations between childhood ADHD symptoms and criminal activities as a young adult. We use a nationally representative study of US adole...
Article
The question of whether giving birth as a teenager has negative economic consequences for the mother remains controversial despite substantial research. In this paper, we build upon existing literature, especially the literature that uses the experience of teenagers who had a miscarriage as the appropriate comparison group. We show that miscarriage...
Chapter
In recent years, interest in early childhood intervention programs has been rising. Childhood has long been recognized as an important period in the development of individuals as healthy, productive, and socially active members of society. Researchers have begun to understand that in many cases, earlier is better. Young children, especially age fiv...
Article
In volume 25, issue 6 of this journal, Janet Currie and Mark Stabile (JCMS,) made a significant contribution to our understanding of the influence of ADHD symptoms on a variety of school outcomes including participation in special education, grade repetition and test scores. Their contributions include using a broad sample of children and estimatin...
Article
Full-text available
The question of whether giving birth as a teenager has negative economic consequences for the mother remains controversial despite substantial research. In this paper, we build upon existing literature, especially the literature that uses the experience of teenagers who had a miscarriage as the appropriate comparison group. We show that miscarriage...
Article
Income inequality among American families has grown steadily since the 1980s, as has the racial-ethnic income gap (Lichter and Eggebeen 1993). These trends are documented in table 3.1, which shows that the standard deviation of U.S. family income doubled from the 1980 to 2000 decennial censuses, and that the gaps between racial-ethnic groups also r...
Chapter
Health care expenditures form an ever-increasing burden in most developed countries, especially the United States, where they accounted for 16.0 per cent of GDP in 2004, up from 5.1 per cent of GDP in 1960. These cost increases alone suggest that health economics is a dynamic field of economic research, but the importance and the interest of the fi...
Article
Whether giving birth as a teenager has negative economic consequences for the mother is a question that has been the topic of a substantial body of research, yet the answer remains controversial. In this paper, we build upon existing literature, especially the literature that uses the experience of teenagers who had a miscarriage as the appropriate...
Article
Full-text available
We hypothesize that teen nonmarital birth events are influenced by adolescent girls' perceptions of the consequences of their choices. Two such consequences are explored: (1) a teen's expected future marriage and cohabitation relationships and (2) the present value of expected future income. We also measure the effects of the characteristics of the...
Article
Full-text available
The goal of securing adequate resources in retirement dominates the ongoing debate regarding social security reforms designed to accommodate the demographic transformation and to provide minimum income security to retired workers. Policy proposals concerned with the implication of future public sector costs emphasize greater individual responsibili...
Article
Full-text available
In this study we extend the literature (e.g. Deaton, 2002a; Kennedy and Kawachi, 1996; Wilkinson, 1996) by proposing a new mechanism through which income inequality can influence health. We argue that increased income inequality induces household crowding, which in turn leads to increased rates of infectious diseases. We use data from New Zealand t...
Article
The Wisconsin BadgerCare program, which became operational in July 1999, expanded public health insurance eligibility to both parents and children in families with incomes below 185% of the U.S. poverty line (200% for those already enrolled). This eligibility expansion was part of a federal initiative known as the State Children's Health Insurance...
Article
A current policy issue is the extent to which savings are sufficient to sustain economic well-being in retirement. We compare annuitized wealth at retirement to three preretirement consumption estimates. About one-half of new retirees have insufficient resources to enable the full maintenance of estimated preretirement consumption in retirement, an...
Article
Full-text available
The Wisconsin BadgerCare program, which became operational in July 1999, expanded public health insurance eligibility to families with incomes below 185 percent of the U.S poverty line (200 percent for those already enrolled). This eligibility expansion was part of a federal initiative known as the State Children’s Health Initiative Program (SCHIP)...
Article
Full-text available
The goal of securing adequate resources in retirement dominates the ongoing debate regarding social security reforms designed to accommodate the demographic transformation and to provide minimum income security to retired workers. Policy proposals concerned with the implication of future public sector costs emphasize greater individual responsibili...
Article
We address the role of youths' own choice-conditioned expectations in understanding their schooling choices by constructing a choice (or "switching") model. We emphasize the effect of individual student perceptions regarding the returns associated with graduating from high school versus dropping out, while controlling for an extensive set of family...
Article
In this paper, we explore whether the specific design of a state's program has contributed to its success in meeting two objectives of the Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP): increasing the health insurance coverage of children in lower income families and doing so with a minimum reduction in their private health insurance coverage (crowd-...
Article
This paper explores whether older adults have the resources they need beyond Social Security to maintain economic well-being after they retire. Th