Unemployment and Infant Health: Times-Series Evidence from the State of Tennessee
AbstractThe relationship between unemployment and health continues to absorb social scientists. The primary reason is the potential significance of an association. If a substantial deterioration in aggregate health is related to economic downturns, then the cost of a recession may be much greater than the foregone output. This paper investigates the aggregate time-series relationship between unemployment and low birthweight with monthly data from the state of Tennessee from 1970 through 1989. The study differs from previous work in that we decompose the unemployment rate into its structural and cyclical components. Moreover, we use vector autoregressions to test the reduced form relationship between unemployment and low birthweight. The well-defined exogeneity of unemployment and the lag length restriction imposed by the duration of a pregnancy strengthens the specification considerably. We fail to find a relationship between unemployment and low birthweight. This basic finding remains unchanged irrespective of whether we test structural or cyclical unemployment, or whether we use total or race-specific rates of low birthweight.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3694.
Date of creation: May 1991
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 185-203 (Winter 1993).
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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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Other versions of this item:
- Theodore Joyce & Naci Mocan, 1993. "Unemployment and Infant Health: Time-Series Evidence from the State of Tennessee," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 185-203.
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
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