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The impact of mothers’ earnings on health inputs and infant health

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  • Mocan, Naci
  • Raschke, Christian
  • Unel, Bulent

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of mothers’ earnings on birth weight and gestational age of infants in the U.S. It also analyzes the impact of earnings on mothers’ consumption of prenatal medical care, and their propensity to smoke and drink during pregnancy. The paper uses census division-year-specific skill-biased technology shocks as an instrument for mothers’ earnings and employs a two-sample instrumental variables strategy. About 14 million records of births between 1989 and 2004 are used from the Natality Detail files along with the CPS Annual Demographic Files from the same period. The results reveal that an increase in weekly earnings prompts an increase in prenatal care of low-skill mothers (those who have at most a high school degree) who are not likely to be on Medicaid, and that earnings have a small positive impact on birth weight and gestational age of the newborns of these mothers. Specifically, if a mother's earnings double, this produces a weight gain of the newborn by about 100g and an increase in gestational age by 0.7 weeks. An increase in earnings does not influence the health of newborns of high-skill mothers (those with at least some college education). Variations in earnings have no impact on birth weight for mothers who are likely to be on Medicaid.

Suggested Citation

  • Mocan, Naci & Raschke, Christian & Unel, Bulent, 2015. "The impact of mothers’ earnings on health inputs and infant health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 204-223.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:19:y:2015:i:c:p:204-223
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2015.08.008
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander, Diane & Currie, Janet, 2017. "Are publicly insured children less likely to be admitted to hospital than the privately insured (and does it matter)?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 33-51.
    2. Bahadir Dursun & Resul Cesur & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2017. "The Value of Mandating Maternal Education in a Developing Country," NBER Working Papers 23492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Deokrye Baek & Duha T. Altindag & Naci Mocan, 2015. "Chinese Yellow Dust and Korean Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 21613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hope Corman & Dhaval Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2018. "Evolution of the Infant Health Production Function," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 85(1), pages 6-47, July.
    5. Seyed Mohammad Karimi, 2018. "Pre – Birth Exposure to Ramadan, Height, and the Length of Gastation," Working Papers 1236, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 Oct 2018.
    6. Dills, Angela K. & Grecu, Anca M., 2017. "Effects of state contraceptive insurance mandates," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 30-42.
    7. Kerris Cooper & Kitty Stewart, 2017. "Does Money Affect Children’s Outcomes? An update," CASE Papers /203, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    8. Abu Dalou, Ahmad Yosuf, 2016. "Height of Northern Jordanian middle-class adults, born 1960–1990 in the response to improving socio-economic conditions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 155-160.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Birth weight; Health inputs; Earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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