Recessions and Babies' Health
AbstractWe study the effect of the business cycle on the health of newborn babies using 30 years of birth certificate data for Spain. Exploiting regional variation over time, we find that babies are born healthier when the local unemployment rate is high. Although fertility is lower during recessions, the effect on health is not the result of selection (healthier mothers being more likely to conceive when unemployment is high). We match multiple births to the same parents and find that the main result survives the inclusion of parents fixed-effects. We then explore a range of maternal behaviors as potential channels. Fertility-age women do not appear to engage in significantly healthier behaviors during recessions (in terms of exercise, nutrition, smoking and drinking). However, they are more likely to be out of work. Maternal employment during pregnancy is in turn negatively correlated with babies’ health. We conclude that maternal employment is a plausible mediating channel.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 702.
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
recessions; business cycles; infant health; fertility; birth weight; infant mortality; Spain;
Other versions of this item:
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- O49 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Other
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-07-15 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2013-07-15 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-HEA-2013-07-15 (Health Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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The Centre for Market and Public Organisation
07/181, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
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