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The Relationship Between Low Birthweight and Socioeconomic Status in Ireland

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  • David Madden

    (University College Dublin)

Abstract

There is now fairly substantial evidence of a socioeconomic gradient in low birthweight for developed countries. The standard summary statistic for this gradient is the concentration index. Using data from the recently published Growing Up in Ireland survey, this paper calculates this index for low birthweight arising from preterm and intra-uterine-growth-retardation. It also carries out a decomposition of this index for the different sources of low birthweight and finds that income inequality appears to be less important for the case of preterm births, while fathers education and local environmental conditions appear to be more relevant for IUGR. The application of the standard Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition also indicates that the socioeconomic gradient for all sources of birthweight appear to arise owing to different characteristics of rich and poor, and not because the return to characteristics differ between rich and poor.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/WP12_14.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201214.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 18 Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201214

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Keywords: Low birthweight; Concentration Index; decomposition;

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  1. Sandra E Black & Paul J Devereux & Kjell G Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439, 02.
  2. Delaney, Liam & McGovern, Mark & Smith, James P., 2011. "From Angela's ashes to the Celtic tiger: Early life conditions and adult health in Ireland," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-10, January.
  3. Xander Koolman & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2004. "On the interpretation of a concentration index of inequality," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 649-656.
  4. Erreygers, Guido, 2009. "Correcting the Concentration Index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 504-515, March.
  5. Horton, Nicholas J. & Kleinman, Ken P., 2007. "Much Ado About Nothing: A Comparison of Missing Data Methods and Software to Fit Incomplete Data Regression Models," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 61, pages 79-90, February.
  6. Kakwani, Nanak & Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1997. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health: Measurement, computation, and statistical inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 87-103, March.
  7. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  8. Wagstaff, Adam, 2009. "Correcting the concentration index: A comment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 516-520, March.
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