Updated Estimates of the Impact of Prenatal Care on Birthweight Outcomes by Race
This paper estimates a quasi-structural birthweight production function using data on counties for the years 1975-84. The analysis focuses on the effects of first trimester initiation of prenatal care, controlling for use of abortion services, cigarette smoking, birth order, and income. A fixed-effects model is used to control for unmeasured differences in health endowments of women across counties. The results indicate that early first trimester initiation of prenatal care leads to a reduction in low birthweight for both blacks and whites. Differences in use of prenatal care by race explain only a small part of the black-white differences in the fraction of low birthweight births.
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