Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2015: Ökonomische Entwicklung - Theorie und Politik - Session: Health Economics I A19-V3
Early intervention is considered as the optimal response to developmental disorders in children. However, relatively little is known about the effectiveness of the standard practice of so-called developmental screenings. We evaluate a nationwide program for preschoolers in Austria. Identification of treatment effects is based on a sharp discontinuity in the eligibility for a financial incentive to participate in this program with respect to the date of birth. Assigned children are about 14 percentage points more likely to be screened. In the short-run, screening participation leads to follow-up medical treatment. This effect is substantially larger for children from families with low socioeconomic status (SES). This suggests that the program helps to identify and treat developmental disorders in particular among low SES children. In the longer run, we find weak evidence for dampening effects on health care cost.