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Birth Weight, Neonatal Care, and Infant Mortality: Evidence from Macrosomic Babies

Ylenia Brilli and Brandon J. Restrepo ()
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Brandon J. Restrepo: Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

No 01/2019, Working Papers from University of Verona, Department of Economics

Abstract: This study demonstrates that rule-of-thumb health treatment decision-making exists when assigning medical care to macrosomic newborns with an extremely high birth weight and estimates the short-run health return to neonatal care for infants at the high end of the birth weight distribution. Using a regression discontinuity design, we find that infants born with a birth weight above 5000 grams have a 2 percentage-point higher probability of admission to a neonatal intensive care unit and a 1 percentage-point higher probability of antibiotics receipt, compared to infants with a birth weight below 5000 grams. We also find that being born above the 5000-gram cutoff has a mortality-reducing effect: infants with a birth weight larger than 5000 grams face a 0.2 percentage points lower risk of mortality in the first month, compared to their counterparts with a birth weight below 5000 grams. We do not find any evidence of changes in health treatments and mortality at macrosomic cutoffs lower than 5000 grams, which is consistent with the idea that such treatment decisions are guided by the higher expected morbidity and mortality risk associated with infants weighing more than 5000 grams.

Keywords: Birth Weight; Health Care; Medical Inputs; Infants; Mortality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I11 I18 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
Date: 2019-03
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