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Bridging the Gap for Roma Women: The Effects of a Health Mediation Program on Roma Prenatal Care and Child Health


  • Bejenariu, Simona

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Mitrut, Andreea

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)


Roma, Europe’s largest minority, face poverty, social exclusion and life-long inequalities, despite the intensified efforts to alleviate their plight. Surprisingly, despite substantial funding aimed at improving Roma outcomes, there is a very little evidence on the effectiveness of these programs. This is the first paper to analyze the Roma Health Mediation Program (RHM), a large-scale public health program implemented first in Romania and developed further in other countries, whose main aim was to improve the health status of pregnant and postpartum Roma women and children, with the help of specially trained Roma health mediators. Using unique registered data from Romania, we exploit the spatial and temporal variation in implementation dates of the program to investigate the effects of the RHM on prenatal care take-up rates and child health. We find that the program had a very large impact on the take-up of prenatal care services, but this improvement was not reflected in the health outcomes at birth of Roma children. However, we do find evidence of decreased stillbirths and infant deaths after the program implementation.

Suggested Citation

  • Bejenariu, Simona & Mitrut, Andreea, 2014. "Bridging the Gap for Roma Women: The Effects of a Health Mediation Program on Roma Prenatal Care and Child Health," Working Papers in Economics 590, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0590

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
    3. R. Todd Jewell & Patricia Triunfo, 2006. "The impact of prenatal care on birthweight: the case of Uruguay," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(11), pages 1245-1250.
    4. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2007. "Biology as Destiny? Short- and Long-Run Determinants of Intergenerational Transmission of Birth Weight," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 231-264.
    5. Anna Aizer, 2007. "Public Health Insurance, Program Take-Up, and Child Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 400-415, August.
    6. Bejenariu, Simona & Mitrut, Andreea, 2012. "Austerity Measures and Infant Health. Lessons from an Unexpected Wage Cut Policy," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics, revised 10 Oct 2013.
    7. Ashraf, Nava & Jack, B. Kelsey & Kamenica, Emir, 2013. "Information and subsidies: Complements or substitutes?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 133-139.
    8. Maria Földes & Alina Covaci, 2012. "Research on Roma health and access to healthcare: state of the art and future challenges," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 57(1), pages 37-39, February.
    9. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-172, Summer.
    10. Conway, Karen Smith & Deb, Partha, 2005. "Is prenatal care really ineffective? Or, is the 'devil' in the distribution?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 489-513, May.
    11. Jeffrey J. Rous & R. Todd Jewell & Robert W. Brown, 2004. "The effect of prenatal care on birthweight: a full-information maximum likelihood approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(3), pages 251-264.
    12. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/317 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Bertrand, Marianne & Shafir, Eldar & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2006. "Behavioral Economics and Marketing in Aid of Decision Making Among the Poor," Scholarly Articles 2962609, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    14. Bharadwaj, Prashant & Eberhard, Juan & Neilson, Christopher, 2010. "Do Initial Endowments Matter Only Initially? The Persistent Effect of Birth Weight on School Achievement," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4536p0hd, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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    More about this item


    Roma; exclusion; poverty; program take-up; health at birth;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • 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

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