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Where Have All the Young Men Gone? Using Gender Ratios to Measure Fetal Death Rates

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  • Nicholas J. Sanders
  • Charles F. Stoecker

Abstract

Fetal health is an important consideration in the formation of health-based policy. However, a complete census of true fetal deaths is impossible to obtain. We present the gender ratio of live births as an under-exploited metric of fetal health and apply it to examine the effects of air quality on fetal health. Males are more vulnerable to side effects of maternal stress in utero, and thus are more likely to suffer fetal death due to pollution exposure. We demonstrate this metric in the context of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 (CAAA) which provide a source of exogenous variation in county-level ambient total suspended particulate matter (TSPs). We find that a standard deviation increase in annual average TSPs (approximately 35 μg/m 3) decreases the percentage of live births that are male by 3.1 percentage points. We then explore the use of observed differences in neonatal and one-year mortality rates across genders in response to pollution exposure as a metric to estimate total fetal losses in utero. These calculations suggest the pollution reductions from the CAAA prevented approximately 21,000-134,000 fetal deaths in 1972.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17434.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17434

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References

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  1. Kasey Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2008. "Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers," NBER Working Papers 14573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970," NBER Working Papers 10053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. W. Reed Walker, 2011. "Environmental Regulation and Labor Reallocation: Evidence from the Clean Air Act," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 442-47, May.
  4. Christopher R. Knittel & Douglas L. Miller & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2011. "Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health," Working Papers 1113, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  5. Janet Currie & Johannes F. Schmieder, 2009. "Fetal Exposures to Toxic Releases and Infant Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 177-83, May.
  6. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Mårten Palme, 2009. "Chernobyl's Subclinical Legacy: Prenatal Exposure to Radioactive Fallout and School Outcomes in Sweden," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1729-1772, November.
  7. Douglas Almond & Lena Edlund & Hongbin Li & Junsen Zhang, 2007. "Long-Term Effects Of The 1959-1961 China Famine: Mainland China and Hong Kong," NBER Working Papers 13384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Janet Currie & Matthew J. Neidell & Johannes Schmieder, 2008. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: Lessons from New Jersey," NBER Working Papers 14196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Janet Currie & W. Reed Walker, 2009. "Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass," NBER Working Papers 15413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Nicholas J. Sanders, 2012. "What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker: Prenatal Pollution Exposure and Educational Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 826-850.
  11. Karen Clay & Werner Troesken & Michael R. Haines, 2010. "Lead and Mortality," NBER Working Papers 16480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Neidell, Matthew J., 2004. "Air pollution, health, and socio-economic status: the effect of outdoor air quality on childhood asthma," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1209-1236, November.
  13. Chay, Kenneth & Dobkin, Carlos & Greenstone, Michael, 2003. " The Clean Air Act of 1970 and Adult Mortality," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 279-300, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Bejenariu, Simona & Mitrut, Andreea, 2013. "Austerity Measures and Infant Health. Lessons from an Unexpected Wage Cut Policy," Working Papers in Economics 574, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  2. Adam Isen & Maya Rossin-Slater & W. Reed Walker, 2014. "Every Breath You Take – Every Dollar You’ll Make: The Long-Term Consequences of the Clean Air Act of 1970," NBER Working Papers 19858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hendrik Jürges, 2012. "Collateral damage: Educational attainment and labor market outcomes among German war and post-war cohorts," Schumpeter Discussion Papers sdp12003, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
  4. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2013. "Environment, Health, and Human Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 689-730, September.
  5. Christopher R. Knittel & Douglas L. Miller & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2011. "Caution, Drivers! Children Present: Traffic, Pollution, and Infant Health," Working Papers 1113, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  6. Emmanuelle Lavaine & Matthew J. Neidell, 2013. "Energy Production and Health Externalities: Evidence from Oil Refinery Strikes in France," NBER Working Papers 18974, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Brainerd, Elizabeth & Menon, Nidhiya, 2014. "Seasonal effects of water quality: The hidden costs of the Green Revolution to infant and child health in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 49-64.
  8. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2012. "Can Pro-Marriage Policies Work? An Analysis of Marginal Marriages," NRN working papers 2012-07, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  9. Alan I. Barreca & Marianne E. Page, 2012. "A Pint for a Pound? Reevaluating the Relationship Between Minimum Drinking Age Laws and Birth Outcomes," Working Papers 1220, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  10. Brainerd, Elizabeth & Menon, Nidhiya, 2012. "Seasonal Effects of Water Quality on Infant and Child Health in India," IZA Discussion Papers 6559, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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