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The effect of welfare reform on prenatal care and birth weight

Author

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  • Robert Kaestner
  • Won Chan Lee

    (Abt Associates, Cambridge, MA, USA)

Abstract

Welfare reform has resulted in a dramatic decline in welfare caseloads and some have claimed that a significant number of low-income women may be without health insurance as a result. The loss of insurance may reduce low-income, pregnant women's health care utilization, and this may adversely affect infant health. Welfare reform also may affect healthcare utilization and health of pregnant women and infants because of welfare-induced changes in family disposable income, time available for health investments, and levels of stress. In this paper we examine the effect of welfare reform on prenatal care utilization and birth weight of low-educated women and their infants. We find that a 50% reduction in the caseload, which is similar to that which occurred in the 1990s, is associated with a zero to seven percent decrease in first trimester prenatal care; a zero to five percent decrease in the number of prenatal care visits; and a zero to 10% increase in low birth weight. Since welfare reform was responsible for only part of the decline in the caseload, welfare reform per se had even smaller effects. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Kaestner & Won Chan Lee, 2005. "The effect of welfare reform on prenatal care and birth weight," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 497-511.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:14:y:2005:i:5:p:497-511
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.921
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.921
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    2. Currie, Janet & Grogger, Jeffrey, 2002. "Medicaid expansions and welfare contractions: offsetting effects on prenatal care and infant health?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 313-335, March.
    3. Kaestner, Robert & Kaushal, Neeraj, 2003. "Welfare reform and health insurance coverage of low-income families," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 959-981, November.
    4. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
    5. Neeraj Kaushal & Robert Kaestner, 2001. "From Welfare to Work: Has Welfare Reform Worked?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 699-719.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1999:89:10:1514-1521_5 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Komlos, John & Baur, Marieluise, 2004. "From the tallest to (one of) the fattest: the enigmatic fate of the American population in the 20th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 57-74, March.
    2. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2005. "Welfare Reform and Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    3. Ana I. Balsa & Patricia Triunfo, 2012. "The Effectiveness of Prenatal Care in a Low Income Population: A Panel Data Approach," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1204, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    4. Hope Corman & Dhaval M. Dave & Dhiman Das & Nancy E. Reichman, 2013. "Effects Of Welfare Reform On Illicit Drug Use Of Adult Women," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 653-674, January.
    5. Modin, Bitte & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2013. "Economic Conditions at Birth, Birth Weight, Ability, and the Causal Path to Cardiovascular Mortality," CEPR Discussion Papers 9650, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Dora L. Costa, 2015. "Health and the Economy in the United States from 1750 to the Present," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(3), pages 503-570, September.
    7. Wehby, George & Dave, Dhaval M. & Kaestner, Robert, 2016. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on Infant Health," IZA Discussion Papers 10039, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. repec:pri:crcwel:wp06-04-ff is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Robert Kaestner & Elizabeth Tarlov, 2006. "Changes in the welfare caseload and the health of low-educated mothers," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 623-643.
    10. Hope Corman & Dhaval M. Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2017. "Evolution of the Infant Health Production Function," NBER Working Papers 24131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ayala, Luis & Rodríguez, Magdalena, 2013. "Health-related effects of welfare-to-work policies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 103-112.
    12. Leonard, Jonathan & Mas, Alexandre, 2008. "Welfare reform, time limits, and infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1551-1566, December.
    13. Jean Knab & Sara McLanahan & Irv Garfinkel, 2007. "The Effects of Welfare and Child Support Policies on Maternal Health and Wellbeing," Working Papers 931, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    14. Marianne Bitler & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Indirect Impacts on Health," NBER Working Papers 12642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Herbst, Chris M., 2014. "Are Parental Welfare Work Requirements Good for Disadvantaged Children? Evidence from Age-of-Youngest-Child Exemptions," IZA Discussion Papers 8485, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Ana Inés Balsa & Patricia Triunfo, 2012. "¿Son los cuidados prenatales efectivos? Un enfoque con datos individuales de panel," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0612, Department of Economics - dECON.
    17. Michael Spanbauer, 2018. "Effect of Waterborne Uranium Exposure on Human Capital Endowment Proxies," Working Papers 1807, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    18. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2005. "Welfare Reform and Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    19. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Paul, Alexander & Reinhold, Steffen, 2018. "Economic Conditions, Parental Employment and Health of Newborns," IZA Discussion Papers 11338, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Guidetti, Giovanni & Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2007. "Firm-level training in local economic systems: Complementarities in production and firm innovation strategies," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 875-894, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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