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Infant health production functions: what a difference the data make

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Author Info

  • Nancy E. Reichman

    (Department of Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA)

  • Hope Corman
  • Kelly Noonan
  • Dhaval Dave

Abstract

We examine the extent to which infant health production functions are sensitive to model specification and measurement error. We focus on the importance of typically unobserved but theoretically important variables (typically unobserved variables, TUVs), other non-standard covariates (NSCs), input reporting, and characterization of infant health. The TUVs represent wantedness, taste for risky behavior, and maternal health endowment. The NSCs include father characteristics. We estimate the effects of prenatal drug use, prenatal cigarette smoking, and first trimester prenatal care on birth weight, low birth weight, and a measure of abnormal infant health conditions. We compare estimates using self-reported inputs versus input measures that combine information from medical records and self-reports. We find that TUVs and NSCs are significantly associated with both inputs and outcomes, but that excluding them from infant health production functions does not appreciably affect the input estimates. However, using self-reported inputs leads to overestimated effects of inputs, particularly prenatal care, on outcomes, and using a direct measure of infant health does not always yield input estimates similar to those when using birth weight outcomes. The findings have implications for research, data collection, and public health policy. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1402
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2009)
Issue (Month): 7 ()
Pages: 761-782

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:18:y:2009:i:7:p:761-782

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Kelly Noonan & Nancy E. Reichman & Hope Corman & Dhaval Dave, 2005. "Prenatal Drug Use and the Production of Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 11433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Diana S. Lien & William N. Evans, 2005. "Estimating the Impact of Large Cigarette Tax Hikes: The Case of Maternal Smoking and Infant Birth Weight," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
  3. Rashad, Inas & Kaestner, Robert, 2004. "Teenage sex, drugs and alcohol use: problems identifying the cause of risky behaviors," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 493-503, May.
  4. Anne Case & Angela Fertig & Christina Paxson, 2004. "The Lasting Impact of Childhood Health and Circumstance," Working Papers 246, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  5. Robert Kaestner & Theodore Joyce & Hassan Wehbeh, 1996. "The Effect of Maternal Drug Use on Birth Weight: Measurement Error in Binary Variables," NBER Working Papers 5434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
  7. Partha Deb & Karen Smith Conway, 2002. "Is Prenatal Care Really Ineffective? Or, is the 'Devil' in the Distribution?," Hunter College Department of Economics Working Papers 02/2, Hunter College: Department of Economics.
  8. Karen Smith Conway & Lisa DeFelice Kennedy, 2004. "Maternal Depression and the Production of Infant Health," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 260-286, October.
  9. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1987. "Birth Outcome Production Function in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(3), pages 339-360.
  10. Geoffrey Warner, 2003. "The association between maternal depression and prenatal care adequacy," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 39-53, December.
  11. Ted Joyce & Robert Kaestner & Sanders Korenman, 2002. "On the validity of retrospective assessments of pregnancy intention," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 199-213, February.
  12. Evans, William N. & Lien, Diana S., 2005. "The benefits of prenatal care: evidence from the PAT bus strike," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 207-239.
  13. Robert Kaestner & Hope Corman, 1995. "The Impact of Child Health and Family Inputs on Child Cognitive Develop-ment," NBER Working Papers 5257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Chaikind, Stephen & Corman, Hope, 1991. "The impact of low birthweight on special education costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 291-311, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Ji Yan, 2013. "Prenatal Smoking Cessation and Infant Health: Evidence from Sibling Births," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 299-323, October.
  2. Mark E McGovern, 2011. "Still Unequal at Birth - Birth Weight, Socioeconomic Status and Outcomes at Age 9," Working Papers 201125, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  3. Burdette, Amy M. & Weeks, Janet & Hill, Terrence D. & Eberstein, Isaac W., 2012. "Maternal religious attendance and low birth weight," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(12), pages 1961-1967.
  4. Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Nancy Reichman & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2011. "Life Shocks and Crime: A Test of the “Turning Point” Hypothesis," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1177-1202, August.
  5. Teitler, Julien O. & Hutto, Nathan & Reichman, Nancy E., 2012. "Birthweight of children of immigrants by maternal duration of residence in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 459-468.
  6. Nancy Reichman & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan & Ofira Schwartz-Soicher, 2010. "Effects of prenatal care on maternal postpartum behaviors," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 171-197, June.
  7. Ana I. Balsa & Patricia Triunfo, 2012. "The Effectiveness of Prenatal Care in a Low Income Population: A Panel Data Approach," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1204, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
  8. Angela R. Fertig, 2010. "Selection and the effect of prenatal smoking," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 209-226.
  9. Wüst, Miriam, 2010. "The effect of cigarette and alcohol consumption on birth outcomes," Working Papers 10-5, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  10. Ana Inés Balsa & Patricia Triunfo, 2012. "¿Son los cuidados prenatales efectivos? Un enfoque con datos individuales de panel," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0612, Department of Economics - dECON.

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