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Birth Outcome Production Functions in the U.S

  • Hope Corman
  • Theodore J. Joyce
  • Michael Grossman

This paper contains the first infant health production functions that simultaneously consider the effects of a variety of inputs on race-specific neonatal mortality rates. These inputs include the use of prenatal care, neonatal intensive care, abortion, Federally subsidized organized family planning clinics, maternal and infant care projects, community health centers, and the WIC program. The empirical analysis is based on a cross section of U.S. counties in 1977, and the incidence of low birth weight (2,500 grams or less) is employed as an intermediate outcome. This allows us to examine the extent to which prenatal inputs operate directly on neonatal mortality and also allows us to examine their indirect effects on mortality rates through low birth weight. Since mothers with poor endowed birth outcomes will attempt to offset these unfavorable prospects by utilizing more health inputs, major emphasis is placed on two-stage least squares estimatesof the production function. Our results underscore the qualitative and quantitative importance of abortion, prenatal care, neonatal intensive care,and the WIC program in black and white birth outcomes.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1729.

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Date of creation: Oct 1985
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Corman, Hope, Theodore J. Joyce and Michael Grossman. "Birth Outcome Production Functions in the U.S." Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 22, No. 3, Summer 1987.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1729
Note: HE
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