CCHE Seminar Series: The Impact of the Women, Infants and Children Program on Early-Life Language Development

Corneliu Bolbocean
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Friday February 14, 2020, 10am-12pm, HSB 108 (155 College Street)


A large body of literature suggests that an individual’s first years of life are critical for long-term economic, health, and social outcomes. However, the effect of public programs on early-life skills formation is largely unknown because there are limitations related to selection into the programs and a scarcity of data on meaningful outcomes. In this study, we use novel data from a longitudinal prospective cohort study conducted in Memphis, TN, to estimate the effects of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program on early-life outcomes in children up to two years of age. Using robust empirical methods, we find that participation in the WIC program has a positive and statistically significant effect of 0.32 and 0.16, respectively, on receptive communication and expressive communication. We provide evidence that WIC participation is associated with an increase in diet quality (measured by Healthy Eating Index-2010).


Dr. Corneliu Bolbocean holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Simon Fraser University and focuses his research portfolio on understanding the effect of public interventions on early life health outcomes. His research affiliations include The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.