Time diaries of sibling pairs from the PSID-CDS are used to determine whether maternal time investments compensate for or reinforce birth-weight differences among children. The findings demonstrate that the direction and degree of differential treatment vary by mother’s education. Less-educated mothers devote more total time and more educationally oriented time to heavier-birth-weight children, whereas better-educated mothers devote more total and more educationally oriented time to lower-birth-weight children. The compensating effects observed among highly educated mothers are substantially larger than the reinforcing effects among the least-educated mothers. The findings show that families redistribute resources in ways that both compensate for and exacerbate early-life disadvantages.

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