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Saving Lives at Birth: The Impact of Home Births on Infant Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Daysal, N. Meltem

    () (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Trandafir, Mircea

    () (University of Southern Denmark)

  • van Ewijk, Reyn

    () (University of Mainz)

Abstract

Many developed countries have recently experienced sharp increases in home birth rates. This paper investigates the impact of home births on the health of low-risk newborns using data from the Netherlands, the only developed country where home births are widespread. To account for endogeneity in location of birth, we exploit the exogenous variation in distance from a mother's residence to the closest hospital. We find that giving birth in a hospital leads to substantial reductions in newborn mortality. We provide suggestive evidence that proximity to medical technologies may be an important channel contributing to these health gains.

Suggested Citation

  • Daysal, N. Meltem & Trandafir, Mircea & van Ewijk, Reyn, 2012. "Saving Lives at Birth: The Impact of Home Births on Infant Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 6879, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6879
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cutler, David M., 2007. "The lifetime costs and benefits of medical technology," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1081-1100, December.
    2. Douglas Almond & Joseph J. Doyle & Amanda E. Kowalski & Heidi Williams, 2010. "Estimating Marginal Returns to Medical Care: Evidence from At-risk Newborns," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 591-634.
    3. Daysal, N. Meltem & Trandafir, Mircea & van Ewijk, Reyn, 2013. "Returns to Childbirth Technologies: Evidence from Preterm Births," IZA Discussion Papers 7834, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. McClellan, Mark & Noguchi, Haruko, 1998. "Technological Change in Heart-Disease Treatment: Does High Tech Mean Low Value?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 90-96, May.
    5. Wiegers, T. A. & van der Zee, J. & Kerssens, J. J. & Keirse, M. J. N. C., 1998. "Home birth or short-stay hospital birth in a low risk population in the Netherlands," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(11), pages 1505-1511, January.
    6. David M. Cutler & Mark McClellan & Joseph P. Newhouse & Dahlia Remler, 1998. "Are Medical Prices Declining? Evidence from Heart Attack Treatments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 991-1024.
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    8. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    9. Douglas Almond & Joseph J. Doyle, 2011. "After Midnight: A Regression Discontinuity Design in Length of Postpartum Hospital Stays," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 1-34, August.
    10. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 791-821.
    11. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding differences in health behaviors by education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-28, January.
    12. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
    13. Prashant Bharadwaj & Katrine Vellesen L?ken & Christopher Neilson, 2013. "Early Life Health Interventions and Academic Achievement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1862-1891, August.
    14. Miller Amalia R, 2006. "The Impact of Midwifery-Promoting Public Policies on Medical Interventions and Health Outcomes," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-36, October.
    15. McClellan, Mark & Newhouse, Joseph P., 1997. "The marginal cost-effectiveness of medical technology: A panel instrumental-variables approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 39-64, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daysal, N. Meltem & Trandafir, Mircea & van Ewijk, Reyn, 2016. "Heterogeneous Effects of Medical Interventions on the Health of Low-Risk Newborns," IZA Discussion Papers 9810, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Kronborg, Hanne & Sievertsen, Hans Henrik & Wüst, Miriam, 2016. "Care around birth, infant and mother health and maternal health investments – Evidence from a nurse strike," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 201-211.
    3. Breining, Sanni & Daysal, N. Meltem & Simonsen, Marianne & Trandafir, Mircea, 2015. "Spillover Effects of Early-Life Medical Interventions," IZA Discussion Papers 9086, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Valentina Duque, 2017. "Childhood Circumstances and Adult Outcomes: Act II," NBER Working Papers 23017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:wly:hlthec:v:26:y:2017:i::p:78-91 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.
    7. Daysal, N. Meltem & Trandafir, Mircea & van Ewijk, Reyn, 2013. "Returns to Childbirth Technologies: Evidence from Preterm Births," IZA Discussion Papers 7834, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Paola Bertoli & Veronica Grembi, 2017. "The life‐saving effect of hospital proximity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26, pages 78-91, September.
    9. N. Meltem Daysal, 2015. "Early-life medical care and human capital accumulation," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 218-218, December.
    10. David B. Audretsch, 2015. "Knowledge spillovers and future jobs," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 218-218, December.
    11. repec:eee:jhecon:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:121-138 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    home birth; birth; medical technology; mortality;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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