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Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy and Early Child Outcomes

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  • Emma Tominey

Abstract

We estimate the harm from smoking during pregnancy upon child birth outcomes, using a rich dataset on a cohort of mothers and their births. We exploit a fixed effects approach to disentangle the correlation between smoking and birth weight from the causal effect. We find that, despite a detailed set of controls for maternal traits, around one-third of the harm from smoking is explained by unobservable traits of the mother. Smoking tends to reduce birth weight by 1.7%, but has no significant effect on the probability of having a low birth weight child, pre-term gestation or weeks of gestation. Exploring heterogeneity in the effect on birth weight, it is mothers who smoke for the 9 months of gestation that suffer the harm, whereas there is an insignificant effect for mothers who chose to quit by month 5. Additionally, there is evidence of potential complementarity in investment of human capital, as the impact on birth weight of smoking is much greater for low educated mothers, even controlling for the quantity of cigarettes they smoke. We suggest policy should target the low educated mothers, offering a more holistic approach to improving child health, as quitting smoking is only half of the battle.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0828.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0828

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: Smoking; Pregnancy; Child Health; Birth Weight;

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  1. Sandra E Black & Paul J Devereux & Kjell G Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439, 02.
  2. Banks, James & Marmot, Michael & Oldfield, Zoë & Smith, James P., 2007. "The SES Health Gradient on Both Sides of the Atlantic," IZA Discussion Papers 2539, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2004. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 10552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "The More the Merrier? The Effect of Family Size and Birth Order on Children's Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 669-700, May.
  8. William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel, 1997. "Can Higher Cigarette Taxes Improve Birth Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 5998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David A. Wise, 2009. "Developments in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise09-1, October.
  10. Burdett, Kenneth & Coles, Melvyn G, 1999. "Long-Term Partnership Formation: Marriage and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F307-34, June.
  11. Jérôme Adda & Francesca Cornaglia, 2006. "Taxes, Cigarette Consumption, and Smoking Intensity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1013-1028, September.
  12. Currie, Alison & Shields, Michael A. & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 2007. "The child health/family income gradient: Evidence from England," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 213-232, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Bejenariu, Simona & Mitrut, Andreea, 2012. "Austerity Measures and Infant Health. Lessons from an Unexpected Wage Cut Policy," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies, Uppsala University, Department of Economics 2012:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics, revised 10 Oct 2013.
  2. Del Bono, Emilia & Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2008. "Intrafamily Resource Allocations: A Dynamic Model of Birth Weight," IZA Discussion Papers 3704, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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