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The Effect of Welfare Reform on Prenatal Care and Birth Weight

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  • Robert Kaestner
  • Won Chan Lee

Abstract

Welfare reform has resulted in a dramatic decline in welfare caseloads and some have claimed that a significant number of low-income women may be without health insurance as a result. The loss of insurance may reduce low-income, pregnant women's health care utilization, and this may adversely affect infant health. Welfare reform also may affect healthcare utilization and health of pregnant women and infants because of welfare-induced changes in family disposable income, time available for health investments, and levels of stress. In this paper we examine the effect of welfare reform on prenatal care utilization and birth weight of low-educated women and their infants. We find that a 50 percent reduction in the caseload, which is similar to that which occurred in the 1990s, is associated with a zero to seven percent decrease in first trimester prenatal care; a zero to five percent decrease in the number of prenatal care visits; and a zero to 10 percent increase in low birth weight.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9769.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Publication status: published as Kaestner, Robert and Won Chan Lee. “The Effect of Welfare Reform on Prenatal Care and Birth Weight.” Health Economics 14, 5 (2005): 497-511.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9769

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  1. Currie, Janet & Grogger, Jeffrey, 2002. "Medicaid expansions and welfare contractions: offsetting effects on prenatal care and infant health?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 313-335, March.
  2. Robert Kaestner & Neeraj Kaushal, 2003. "Welfare Reform and Health Insurance Coverage of Low-Income Families," NBER Working Papers 10033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  4. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
  5. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner, 2001. "From Welfare to Work: Has Welfare Reform Worked?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 699-719.
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Cited by:
  1. Marianne Bitler & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Indirect Impacts on Health," NBER Working Papers 12642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Guidetti, Giovanni & Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2007. "Firm-level training in local economic systems: Complementarities in production and firm innovation strategies," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 875-894, December.
  3. Leonard, Jonathan & Mas, Alexandre, 2008. "Welfare reform, time limits, and infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1551-1566, December.
  4. Komlos, John & Baur, Marieluise, 2004. "From the tallest to (one of) the fattest: the enigmatic fate of the American population in the 20th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 57-74, March.
  5. Robert Kaestner & Elizabeth Tarlov, 2003. "Changes in the Welfare Caseload and the Health of Low-educated Mothers," NBER Working Papers 10034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2004. "Welfare Reform and Health," Working Papers, RAND Corporation Publications Department 102-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  7. Modin, Bitte & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2013. "Economic Conditions at Birth, Birth Weight, Ability, and the Causal Path to Cardiovascular Mortality," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 9650, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Ana Inés Balsa & Patricia Triunfo, 2012. "¿Son los cuidados prenatales efectivos? Un enfoque con datos individuales de panel," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers), Department of Economics - dECON 0612, Department of Economics - dECON.
  9. Ana I. Balsa & Patricia Triunfo, 2012. "The Effectiveness of Prenatal Care in a Low Income Population: A Panel Data Approach," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo. 1204, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
  10. Jean Knab & Sara McLanahan & Irv Garfinkel, 2007. "The Effects of Welfare and Child Support Policies on Maternal Health and Wellbeing," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. 931, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  11. Ayala, Luis & Rodríguez, Magdalena, 2013. "Health-related effects of welfare-to-work policies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 103-112.

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