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Newborn Health and the Business Cycle: Is it Good to be Born in Bad Times?

  • Ainhoa Aparicio
  • Libertad González

We study the effect of the cycle on the health of newborn babies using 30 years of birth-certificate data for Spain. We find that babies are born healthier when the local unemployment rate is high. Although fertility is lower during recessions, the effect on health is not the result of selection, since the main result survives the inclusion of parents' fixed-effects. Analysis of National Health Survey data shows that fertility-age women engage in healthier behaviors during recessions (in terms of exercise, sleep, smoking and drinking) and report better overall health. We conclude that maternal health is a plausible mediating channel.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 702.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:702
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  1. Cutler, David M. & Knaul, Felicia & Lozano, Rafael & Mendez, Oscar & Zurita, Beatriz, 2002. "Financial crisis, health outcomes and ageing: Mexico in the 1980s and 1990s," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 279-303, May.
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  18. Mendez, Oscar & Cutler, David & Knaul, Felicia & Lozano, Rafael & Zurita, Beatriz, 2002. "Financial Crisis, Health Outcomes, and Aging: Mexico in the 1980s and 1990s," Scholarly Articles 2707939, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Grant Miller & B. Piedad Urdinola, 2010. "Cyclicality, Mortality, and the Value of Time: The Case of Coffee Price Fluctuations and Child Survival in Colombia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 113-155, 02.
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  25. repec:pri:rpdevs:case_and_paxson_early_life_health_w15637 is not listed on IDEAS
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