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The Effectiveness of Prenatal Care in a Low Income Population: A Panel Data Approach

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  • Ana I. Balsa

    ()

  • Patricia Triunfo

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of prenatal care on the likelihood of low birth weight and prematurity using panel data on births taking place between 1995 and 2008 in the largest maternity ward in Uruguay. The use of difference-Generalized Method of Moments estimation addresses biases due to time invariant unobserved heterogeneity and feedback effects from prior pregnancies. Our estimates are larger than those usually found for developed countries: an adequate use of prenatal care - as defined by the Kessner criterion - decreases the probability of low birth weight by half and the likelihood of a pre-term birth by 70%. Even when imposing less stringent requirements on the total number of prenatal controls, the improvements over birth outcomes are considerable. In addition to indicating the crucial role of prenatal care in the birth outcomes of low-income populations, our analysis highlights the importance of using econometric techniques that use the full distribution of pregnancies to estimate the effectiveness of prenatal care.

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File URL: http://www.um.edu.uy/docs/working_paper_um_cee_2012_04.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo. in its series Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers with number 1204.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:mnt:wpaper:1204

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Postal: Prudencio de Pena 2440, Montevideo 11600
Web page: http://www.um.edu.uy/cee/
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Keywords: prenatal care; panel data; difference GMM; lowbirth weight; low SES populations;

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  17. Jason Abrevaya, 2006. "Estimating the effect of smoking on birth outcomes using a matched panel data approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 489-519.
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  19. Geoffrey Warner, 1998. "Birthweight Productivity of Prenatal Care," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(1), pages 42-63, July.
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  21. Paula Veiga & Ronald P. Wilder, 2006. "Maternal smoking during pregnancy and birthweight - A propensity score matching approach," NIMA Working Papers 32, Núcleo de Investigação em Microeconomia Aplicada (NIMA), Universidade do Minho.
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