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Immigration policy and birth weight: positive externalities in Italian law

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  • Pieroni, Luca
  • Salmasi, Luca

Abstract

A decade ago, the political party of the Italian center-right voted a law restricting immigration. It emphasized severity in granting permits to stay and limited illegal immigration. However, the law became effective in early 2005, when the Italian parliament approved the decree for its application. Only one article of this law, granting amnesty for illegal immigrant workers, was immediately effective, and gave irregular immigrants the opportunity to regularize their status. As a result, 650,000 immigrants were granted the status of foreign nationals in Italy. In this paper, we examine whether the increase in the prevalence of "regular immigrants" has led to an improvement in health outcomes of babies born to migrant women, measured in terms of birth weight. Two hitherto unexploited birth sample surveys published by Italian Institute of Statistics in 2002 and 2005 were used for this study. The surveys, concern interviews with 100,000 mothers who delivered a child between July 2000 and June 2001 in the first survey and in 2003 in the second survey. Our estimates show that regular immigration reduced the probability of low birth weight, indicating that economic benefits in place at birth may be strengthened by increased future productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 50368.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:50368

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Keywords: birth-weight; immigrants regularization; propensity score matching; difference-in-differences;

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  1. Bacci, Silvia & Bartolucci, Francesco & Pieroni, Luca, 2012. "A causal analysis of mother’s education on birth inequalities," MPRA Paper 38754, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Heckman, James J., 2000. "Policies to foster human capital," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 3-56, March.
  3. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083, August.
  4. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
  5. Hildebrandt, Nicole & McKenzie, David, 2005. "The effects of migration on child health in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3573, The World Bank.
  6. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2000. "Evaluation methods for non-experimental data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 427-468, January.
  7. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
  9. Moreno-Serra, Rodrigo, 2008. "Health Programme Evaluation by Propensity Score Matching: Accounting for Treatment Intensity and Health Externalities with an Application to Brazil," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Frankfurt a.M. 2009 44, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  10. Abrevaya, Jason & Dahl, Christian M, 2008. "The Effects of Birth Inputs on Birthweight," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 379-397.
  11. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Kusum Mundra, 2003. "Impact of Immigration on Prenatal Care Use and Birth Weight: Evidence from California in the 1990's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 242-246, May.
  12. Borjas, George J, 1990. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 305-08, March.
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