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Pregnancy Medicaid Expansions and Fertility: Differentiating between the Intensive and Extensive Margins

Lincoln Groves, Sarah Hamersma and Leonard M. Lopoo ()
Additional contact information
Lincoln Groves: Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Leonard M. Lopoo: Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 426 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244, https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/directory/leonard-m-lopoo

No 206, Center for Policy Research Working Papers from Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Abstract: The theoretical and empirical links between public health insurance access and fertility in the United States remain unclear. Utilizing a demographic cell-based estimation approach with panel data (1987-1997), we revisit the large-scale Medicaid expansions to pregnant women during the 1980s to estimate the heterogeneous impacts of public health insurance access on childbirth. While the decision to become a parent (i.e., the extensive margin) appears to be unaffected by increased access to Medicaid, we find that increased access to public health insurance positively influenced the number of high parity births (i.e., the intensive margin) for select groups of women. In particular, we find a robust, positive birth effect for unmarried women with a high school education, a result which is consistent across the two racial groups examined in our analysis: African American and white women. This result suggests that investigating effects along both the intensive and extensive margin is important for scholars who study the natalist effects of social welfare policies, and our evidence provides a more nuanced understanding of the influence of public health insurance on fertility.

Keywords: Medicaid; Fertility; Parity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I1 J13 J18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 49 pages
Date: 2017-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-ias
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Journal Article: Pregnancy Medicaid Expansions and Fertility: Differentiating Between the Intensive and Extensive Margins (2018) Downloads
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