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Maternal Health and the Baby Boom

Claudia Olivetti () and Stefania Albanesi ()

No 85, 2010 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics

Abstract: In 1900, one mother died for every 118 live births in the United States. Approximately 15,000 women died of childbirth each year between 1900 and 1930, and pregnancy related causes accounted for over 15% of all female deaths at age 15-44. For every death, twenty more mothers suffered obstetric complications leading to severe and long term disability. Between 1936 and 1956, maternal deaths dropped by 94%, reaching modern levels by the late 1950s. The incidence of pregnancy-related conditions also underwent a similar reduction. We examine the link between the decline in the maternal health burden and the mid-twentieth century baby boom, exploiting the large cross-state variation in the magnitude of this drop and the differential exposure of women by cohort. We find that for every 10 unit drop in maternal mortality, completed fertility rises by 0.6-1.1 children for women born between 1931 and 1938. These findings provide new insights on the determinants of fertility in the U.S. and other countries that experienced similar improvements in maternal health.

Date: 2010
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Journal Article: Maternal health and the baby boom (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Maternal Health and the Baby Boom (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Maternal Health and the Baby Boom (2010)
Working Paper: Maternal Health and the Baby Boom (2010) Downloads
Working Paper: Maternal Health and the Baby Boom (2010) Downloads
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More papers in 2010 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA. Contact information at EDIRC.
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