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A causal analysis of mother’s education on birth inequalities


  • Bacci, Silvia
  • Bartolucci, Francesco
  • Pieroni, Luca


We propose a causal analysis of the mother’s educational level on the health status of the newborn, in terms of gestational weeks and weight. The analysis is based on a finite mixture structural equation model, the parameters of which have a causal interpretation. The model is applied to a dataset of almost ten thausand deliveries collected in an Italian region. The analysis confirms that standard regression overestimates the impact of education on the child health. With respect to the current economic literature, our findings indicate that only high education has positive consequences on child health, implying that policy efforts in education should have benefits for welfare.

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  • Bacci, Silvia & Bartolucci, Francesco & Pieroni, Luca, 2012. "A causal analysis of mother’s education on birth inequalities," MPRA Paper 38754, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38754

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Justin McCrary & Heather Royer, 2011. "The Effect of Female Education on Fertility and Infant Health: Evidence from School Entry Policies Using Exact Date of Birth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 158-195, February.
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    5. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 1-22, May.
    6. Shin-Yi Chou & Jin-Tan Liu & Michael Grossman & Ted Joyce, 2010. "Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Taiwan," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 33-61, January.
    7. Pierre-André Chiappori & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2009. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1689-1713, December.
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    13. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1991. "Inequality at birth : The scope for policy intervention," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 205-228, October.
    14. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083.
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    Cited by:

    1. Salmasi, Luca & Pieroni, Luca, 2015. "Immigration policy and birth weight: Positive externalities in Italian law," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 128-139.

    More about this item


    birthweight; finite mixtures; intergenerational health trasmission; latent class model; structural equation models;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • C30 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - General

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