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A Time-Series Analysis of Unemployment and Health: The Case of Birth Outcomes in New York City

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  • Theodore J. Joyce

Abstract

Lifetime income is less variable than annual household income, since the latter reflects transitory shocks to wages, family status, and employment. The paper presents an aggregate time-series analysis of unemployment and infant health that improves on previous work in several ways. First, the data is monthly as opposed to annual and pertains to New York City from January, 1970 to December, 1986. Second, a structural production function is estimated in which the race-specific percentage of low-birthweight births is the health outcome. Because we are able to control for the race-specific percentage of women who begin care in the first trimester as well as the percentage of births to unmarried mothers, the unemployment rate as a proxy for maternal stress enters the production function as one among a set of well-defined health Inputs. Third, because a pregnancy is limited to at most ten months, we can specify a lag length with confidence. Fourth. the data is tested for stationarity and the production function is estimated in levels as well as in deviations from trend. We find no cyclical variation in the percentage of low-birthweight births. The results are insensitive to changes in lag length. the omission of relevant inputs, and the functional form of the coefficients on the distributed lag.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore J. Joyce, 1989. "A Time-Series Analysis of Unemployment and Health: The Case of Birth Outcomes in New York City," NBER Working Papers 2834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2834
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1988. "Variable Trends in Economic Time Series," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 147-174, Summer.
    2. Plosser, Charles I. & Schwert*, G. William, 1978. "Money, income, and sunspots: Measuring economic relationships and the effects of differencing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 637-660, November.
    3. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-1072, June.
    4. Breusch, T S, 1978. "Testing for Autocorrelation in Dynamic Linear Models," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(31), pages 334-355, December.
    5. Godfrey, Leslie G, 1978. "Testing for Higher Order Serial Correlation in Regression Equations When the Regressors Include Lagged Dependent Variables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1303-1310, November.
    6. Nelson, Charles R & Kang, Heejoon, 1984. "Pitfalls in the Use of Time as an Explanatory Variable in Regression," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(1), pages 73-82, January.
    7. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1985:75:8:866-869_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. Engle, Robert F. & Yoo, Byung Sam, 1987. "Forecasting and testing in co-integrated systems," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 143-159, May.
    10. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
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    Cited by:

    1. Reichman, Nancy E. & Florio, Maryanne J., 1996. "The effects of enriched prenatal care services on Medicaid birth outcomes in New Jersey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 455-476, August.
    2. Audrey Laporte, 2004. "Do economic cycles have a permanent effect on population health? Revisiting the Brenner hypothesis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(8), pages 767-779.
    3. 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.
    4. Theodore Joyce & Naci Mocan, 1993. "Unemployment and Infant Health: Time-Series Evidence from the State of Tennessee," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 185-203.
    5. Stewart, Jennifer M., 2001. "The impact of health status on the duration of unemployment spells and the implications for studies of the impact of unemployment on health status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 781-796, September.
    6. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3085-3139 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. John Cawley & Kosali I. Simon, 2003. "The Impact of Macroeconomic Conditions on the Health Insurance Coverage of Americans," NBER Chapters,in: Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 6, pages 87-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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