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Econometric analysis of the effects of economic conditions on the health of newborns

Gerard van den Berg, Alexander Paul () and Steffen Reinhold
Additional contact information
Alexander Paul: Aarhus University, and TrygFonden’s Centre, Postal: Department of Economics and Business Economics , Fuglesangs Allé 4, building 2622, 111, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark
Steffen Reinhold: Germany and Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy (MEA), Postal: Germany and Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy (MEA), E.CA Economics, https://www.e-ca.com/our-team/#steffen-reinhold

No 2018:24, Working Paper Series from IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

Abstract: We examine whether economic downturns are beneficial to health outcomes of newborn infants in developed countries. For this we use merged populationwide registers on health and economic and demographic variables, including the national medical birth register and intergenerational link registers from Sweden covering 1992–2004. We take a rigorous econometric approach that exploits regional variation in unemployment and compares babies born to the same parents so as to deal with possible selective fertility based on labor market conditions. We find that downturns are beneficial; an increase in the unemployment rate during pregnancy reduces the probability of having a birth weight less than 1,500 grams or of dying within 28 days of birth. Effects are larger in low socio-economic status households. Health improvements cannot be attributed to the parents’ own employment status. Instead, the results suggest a pathway through air pollution.

Keywords: Economic conditions; Health of newborns (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 66 pages
Date: 2018-12-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-hea
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2018_024

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