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The toll of fertility on mothers’ wellbeing

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  • Cáceres-Delpiano, Julio
  • Simonsen, Marianne

Abstract

Using multiple births as source of variation, we study the impact of fertility on the overall wellbeing of mothers. First, using US Census data for the year 1980, we study the impact of number of children on family arrangements, welfare participation and poverty status. Second, using the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for the period 1982–2003, we study the impact on a series of health risk factors. The findings reveal, first, that an increase in family size increases the likelihood of marital breakdown. Second, we find evidence that mothers facing an increase in family size are not only more likely to live with other family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, they are also more likely to receive help from welfare programs. Third, consistent with an increase in welfare participation, families (mothers) are more likely to fall below the poverty line, and they face a reduction in total family income. The results using NHIS confirm a negative impact of fertility on marriage stability and an increase in welfare participation measured by the likelihood of using Medicaid and for some samples a reduction in the take-up of private health insurance. Finally, we find evidence that a shock in fertility increases the likelihood of mothers suffering from high blood pressure and becoming obese.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 752-766

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:31:y:2012:i:5:p:752-766

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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Keywords: Family arrangements; Poverty; Welfare participation; Health insurance; Obesity;

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References

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  1. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Zhang, Junsen, 2006. "Do Population Control Policies Induce More Human Capital Investment? Twins, Birthweight, and China's 'One Child' Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 2082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  16. Joshua Angrist & Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2010. "Multiple Experiments for the Causal Link between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(4), pages 773-824, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Pedersen, Peder J. & Schmidt, Torben Dall, 2014. "Life Events and Subjective Well-being: The Case of Having Children," IZA Discussion Papers 8207, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Kruk, Kai Eberhard & Reinhold, Steffen, 2014. "The effect of children on depression in old age," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 1-11.
  3. Kruk, Eberhard, 2011. "The Effect of Children on Depression in Old Age," MEA discussion paper series 11249, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.

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