Does poverty affect early childhood development? An unprecedented study launching next month investigates the developmental effects on children of low-income mothers who receive an unconditional monthly payment of $333 for their child’s first 3 years. Researchers hypothesize that a regular influx of money will positively affect brain development: A pilot study showed that most of the money was used for food, travel and diapers—expenses that can strain families already struggling in poverty.
The study could pose new perspectives for welfare. “No amount of reflexive bootstrap-tugging could make up for the disadvantages that poverty casts over a child’s developing brain.”