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The Impact of Scheduling Birth Early on Infant Health

  • Cristina Borra
  • Libertad González
  • Almudena Sevilla-Sanz

We take advantage of a natural experiment to provide new, credible evidence on the health consequences of scheduling births early for non-medical reasons. In May 2010, the Spanish government announced that a 2,500-euro universal "baby bonus" would stop being paid to babies born after December 31st, 2010. Using administrative data from birth certificates and hospital records, we find that more than 2,000 families shifted their date of birth from January 2011 to December 2010 (out of 9,000 weekly births). The affected babies had about 250 grams lower birth-weight, and suffered 500 additional hospitalizations during their first 18 months of life.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 707.

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Date of creation: Sep 2015
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:707
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  1. Sandra E. Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2006. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," CEE Discussion Papers 0061, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  2. Janet Currie & Rosemary Hyson, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," NBER Working Papers 6999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2011. "Financial incentives, the timing of births, birth complications, and newborns' health: Evidence from the abolition of Austria's baby bonus," ECON - Working Papers 048, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1997. "Income taxes and the timing of marital decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 219-240, May.
  5. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
  6. Joshua S. Gans & Andrew Leigh, 2006. "Born on the First of July: An (Un)natural Experiment in Birth Timing," CEPR Discussion Papers 529, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  7. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Lemke, Robert J. & Scholz, John Karl, 2004. "Do estate and gift taxes affect the timing of private transfers?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2617-2634, December.
  8. Michael Neugart & Henry Ohlsson, 2013. "Economic incentives and the timing of births: evidence from the German parental benefit reform of 2007," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 87-108, January.
  9. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Deding, Mette & Lausten, Mette, 2010. "Medium-term consequences of low birth weight on health and behavioral deficits – is there a catch-up effect?," Working Papers 10-3, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  10. Randolph, William C, 1995. "Dynamic Income, Progressive Taxes, and the Timing of Charitable Contributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 709-38, August.
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