Rationale: Low birth weight has been found to increase the problem behavior of children. Yet, little attention has been given to adequately account for the impact of the child’s neighborhood on this relation. The residential neighborhood is a choice, based on factors that are usually not observed that may also influence birth weight and problem behavior. Objective: Using a model that accounts for such endogeneity of both neighborhood choice and birth weight, we have analyzed behavioral problems in 4210 pre-school children between the ages of 5 and 6, birth weight, and neighborhood status, simultaneously. Method: The data used are from the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) cohort for whom a complete prospective record of birth outcomes, pregnancy, socio-demographic characteristics, and indicators of problem behavior are available. Neighborhood data obtained from Statistics Netherlands are merged with the ABCD data file. Results: Our results suggest that ignoring endogeneity attenuates the effect of disadvantaged neighborhoods on both birth weight and problem behavior in pre-school children. Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood decreases the birth weight and increases the probability of problem behavior. Accounting for the endogeneity of neighborhood choice increases the estimated impacts (marginal effects: from − 10% to − 44% for birth weight and from 3% to 11% for problem behavior). Lower birth weight increases the probability of problem behavior, but it is only significant after adjusting for endogeneity. The coefficients of other factors have the expected associations with problem behavior. Conclusions: These significant effects of disadvantaged neighborhood on birth weight and problem behavior could inform policies and practices that improve neighborhood development for children born in Amsterdam.

Neighborhood environment, Child health, Birth weight, Problem behavior, Amsterdam
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113400, hdl.handle.net/1765/133779
Social Science and Medicine

Saha, U.R., Bijwaard, G.E., Muhajarine, N., & Vrijkotte, T.G. (2020). Disadvantaged neighborhoods, birth weight, and problem behavior in five- and six-year-old pre-school children: Evidence from a cohort born in Amsterdam. Social Science and Medicine, 265. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113400