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The Impact of Eliminating a Child Benefit on Birth Timing and Infant Health

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  • Cristina Borra
  • Libertad González
  • Almudena Sevilla-Sanz

Abstract

We study the effects of the cancellation of a sizeable child benefit in Spain on birth timing and neonatal health. In May 2010, the government announced that a 2,500-euro universal “baby bonus” would stop being paid to babies born on or after January 1st, 2011. We use detailed micro data from birth certificates from 2000 to 2011, and find that more than 2,000 families were able to anticipate the date of birth of their babies from (early) January 2011 to (late) December 2010 (for a total of about 9,000 births a week nationally). This shifting of deliveries led to a significant increase in the number of low birth weight babies, as well as a peak in neonatal mortality. These results suggest that announcement effects are important in shaping economic decisions and outcomes. They also provide new, credible evidence highlighting the negative health consequences of scheduling births for non-medical reasons.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 707.

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Date of creation: Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:707

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Keywords: timing of births; benefit elimination; announcement effects; infant health;

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  1. Gans, Joshua S. & Leigh, Andrew, 2009. "Born on the first of July: An (un)natural experiment in birth timing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 246-263, February.
  2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2006. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19425, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Lemke, Robert J. & Scholz, John Karl, 2004. "Do estate and gift taxes affect the timing of private transfers?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2617-2634, December.
  4. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
  5. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2011. "Financial Incentives, the Timing of Births, Birth Complications, and Newborns’ Health: Evidence from the Abolition of Austria’s Baby Bonus," NRN working papers 2011-16, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  6. Janet Currie & Rosemary Hyson, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," NBER Working Papers 6999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1997. "Income taxes and the timing of marital decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 219-240, May.
  8. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2011. "Financial incentives, the timing of births, birth complications, and newborns' health: Evidence from the abolition of Austria's baby bonus," ECON - Working Papers 048, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Deding, Mette & Lausten, Mette, 2010. "Medium-term consequences of low birth weight on health and behavioral deficits – is there a catch-up effect?," Working Papers 10-3, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  10. Randolph, William C, 1995. "Dynamic Income, Progressive Taxes, and the Timing of Charitable Contributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 709-38, August.
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  1. #HEJC papers for September 2013
    by academichealtheconomists in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2013-08-31 23:01:38

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