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The Demand for Health Inputs and Their Impact on the Black Neonatal Mortality Rate in the U.S


  • Theodore J. Joyce


Relatively high birth rates among black adolescents and unmarried women as well as inadequate access to medical care are considered primary reasons why the black neonatal mortality rate is almost double that of whites. Using household production theory, this paper examines the determinants of input utilization and estimates the impact of utilization on the survival of black infants across large counties in the U.S. in 1977. The results indicate that expanding the availability of family planning clinics increases the number of teenagers served resulting in a lower neonatal mortality rate. Accessibility to abortion services operates in a similar manner. Moreover, the use of neonatal intensive care, which is strongly related to its availability, is an important determinant of newborn survivability whereas the initiation of early prenatal care is not. Overall, the results suggest that lowering the incidence of low weight and preterm births among blacks by helping women to avoid an unwanted birth, may be the moat cost-effective way of improving black infant health.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore J. Joyce, 1986. "The Demand for Health Inputs and Their Impact on the Black Neonatal Mortality Rate in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 1966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1966
    Note: HE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1983. "Consumer Demand and Household Production: The Relationship between Fertility and Child Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 38-42, May.
    2. Lewit, Eugene M. & Coate, Douglas, 1982. "The potential for using excise taxes to reduce smoking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 121-145, August.
    3. Mark R. Rosenzweig & T. Paul Schultz, 1982. "The Behavior of Mothers as Inputs to Child Health: The Determinants of Birth Weight, Gestation, and Rate of Fetal Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 53-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Willis, Robert J, 1973. "A New Approach to the Economic Theory of Fertility Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 14-64, Part II, .
    5. Jeffrey E. Harris, 1982. "Prenatal Medical Care and Infant Mortality," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 13-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1977:67:7:616-620_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Corman, Hope & Grossman, Michael, 1985. "Determinants of neonatal mortality rates in the U.S. : A reduced form model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 213-236, September.
    8. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1985. "Birth Outcome Production Functions in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 1729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Nakamura, Alice & Nakamura, Masao, 1981. "On the Relationships among Several Specification Error Tests Presented by Durbin, Wu, and Hausman," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1583-1588, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1989. "Pregnancy Resolution as an Indicator of Wantedness and its Impact on the Initiation of Early Prenatal Care," NBER Working Papers 2827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hope Corman & Michael Grossman & Theodore J. Joyce, 1988. "Demographic Analysis of Birthweight-Specific Neonatal Mortality," NBER Working Papers 2804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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