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Fear itself: The effects of distressing economic news on birth outcomes

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  • Carlson, Kyle

Abstract

I use new administrative data on mass layoffs and plant closings to study the effects of distressing economic news. Exposure to stressful events during pregnancy can impair fetal development. I find that announcement of impending job losses leads to a transient decrease in the mean birth weight within the firm's county one to four months before the job losses. A loss of 500 jobs corresponds roughly to a decrease of 15–20g and 16 percent greater risk of low birth weight. Layoffs announced late in pregnancy are most strongly linked to decreased birth outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlson, Kyle, 2015. "Fear itself: The effects of distressing economic news on birth outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 117-132.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:41:y:2015:i:c:p:117-132
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2015.02.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2018. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1360-1446, December.
    2. Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A. & Suziedelyte, Agne, 2017. "World Commodity Prices, Job Security and Health: Evidence from the Mining Industry," IZA Discussion Papers 11251, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. 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.
    4. Dagnelie, Olivier & Luca, Giacomo Davide De & Maystadt, Jean-François, 2018. "Violence, selection and infant mortality in Congo," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 153-177.
    5. Sandner, Malte & Cornelissen, Thomas & Jungmann, Tanja & Herrmann, Peggy, 2018. "Evaluating the effects of a targeted home visiting program on maternal and child health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 269-283.
    6. Mulmi, Prajula & Block, Steven A. & Shively, Gerald E. & Masters, William A., 2016. "Climatic conditions and child height: Sex-specific vulnerability and the protective effects of sanitation and food markets in Nepal," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 63-75.
    7. Kim, Bongkyun & Carruthers, Celeste K. & Harris, Matthew C., 2017. "Maternal stress and birth outcomes: Evidence from the 1994 Northridge earthquake," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 354-373.
    8. Terhi Maczulskij & Petri Böckerman, 2019. "Harsh times: do stressors lead to labor market losses?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 20(3), pages 357-373, April.
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    10. Nadine Geiger & Sebastian Wichert, 2019. "Birth in times of war - An investigation of health, mortality and social class using historical clinical records," CESifo Working Paper Series 7593, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Ezra Golberstein & Gilbert Gonzales & Ellen Meara, 2016. "Economic Conditions and Children's Mental Health," NBER Working Papers 22459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Bubonya, Melisa & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Christensen, Daniel & Johnson, Sarah E. & Zubrick, Stephen R., 2018. "The Great Recession and Children's Mental Health in Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 11891, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Alastair Ball, 2018. "The Long-Term Economic Costs of the Great London Smog," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1814, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Birth weight; Gestational age; Birth outcomes; Stress;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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