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Booms, Busts, and Babies' Health

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  • Rajeev Dehejia
  • Adriana Lleras-Muney

Abstract

We study the relationship between the unemployment rate at the time of a baby's conception and parental characteristics, parental behaviors, and babies' health. Babies conceived in times of high unemployment have a reduced incidence of low and very low birth weight, fewer congenital malformations, and lower postneonatal mortality. These health improvements are attributable both to selection (changes in the type of mothers who conceive during recessions) and to improvements in health behavior during recessions. Black mothers tend to be higher socioeconomic status (as measured by education and marital status) in times of high unemployment, whereas White mothers are less educated.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajeev Dehejia & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2004. "Booms, Busts, and Babies' Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1091-1130.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:3:p:1091-1130.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/0033553041502216
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    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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