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On the Value of Birth Weight

Damian Clarke (), Sonia Oreffice and Climent Quintana‐Domeque

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2021, vol. 83, issue 5, 1130-1159

Abstract: A large body of evidence documents the educational and labour market returns to birth weight, which are reflected in investments in large social safety net programmes targeting birth weight and early life health. However, there is no direct evidence on the private valuation of birth weight. In this paper, we estimate the willingness to pay for birth weight in the United States, using a series of discrete choice experiments. Within the normal birth weight range (2,500–4,000 g), we find that individuals are, on average, willing to pay $1.47 (95% CI: [$1.24, $1.70]) for each additional gram of birth weight when the value of birth weight is estimated linearly, or $2.40 (95% CI: [$2.03, $2.77]) when the value of birth weight is estimated non‐parametrically.

Date: 2021
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