Heterogeneous Effects of Poverty on Cognition
We examine heterogeneity in the effect of poor financial circumstances on cognition. Our analysis uses data from an experiment, which randomly assigned low-income individuals to perform a cognitive test before or after payday. On average, and based on traditional subgroup analysis, the experiment did not suggest that the poorer financial circumstances before payday impeded cognitive function. Using the causal forest method, however, our heterogeneity analysis suggests that there are indeed detrimental effects among young and elderly individuals with very low incomes. We can confirm this finding in an independent experiment, using only traditional subgroup analysis.