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The relationship between low birthweight and socioeconomic status in Ireland

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  • David (David Patrick) Madden

Abstract

There is now fairly substantial evidence of a socioeconomic gradient in low birthweight for developed countries. The standard summary statistic for this gradient is the concentration index. Using data from the recently published Growing Up in Ireland survey, this paper calculates this index for low birthweight arising from preterm and intra-uterine-growth-retardation. It also carries out a decomposition of this index for the different sources of low birthweight and finds that income inequality appears to be less important for the case of preterm births, while fathers education and local environmental conditions appear to be more relevant for IUGR. The application of the standard Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition also indicates that the socioeconomic gradient for all sources of birthweight appear to arise owing to different characteristics of rich and poor, and not because the return to characteristics differ between rich and poor.

Suggested Citation

  • David (David Patrick) Madden, 2012. "The relationship between low birthweight and socioeconomic status in Ireland," Working Papers 201214, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:201214
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/3773
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
    2. Liam Delaney & Mark McGovern & James P. Smith, 2009. "From Angela's Ashes to the Celtic Tiger: Early Life Conditions and Adult Health in Ireland," Working Papers 200943, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    3. Wagstaff, Adam, 2009. "Correcting the concentration index: A comment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 516-520, March.
    4. Horton, Nicholas J. & Kleinman, Ken P., 2007. "Much Ado About Nothing: A Comparison of Missing Data Methods and Software to Fit Incomplete Data Regression Models," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 61, pages 79-90, February.
    5. Delaney, Liam & McGovern, Mark & Smith, James P., 2011. "From Angela's ashes to the Celtic tiger: Early life conditions and adult health in Ireland," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-10, January.
    6. Erreygers, Guido, 2009. "Correcting the Concentration Index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 504-515, March.
    7. Kakwani, Nanak & Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 1997. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health: Measurement, computation, and statistical inference," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, pages 87-103.
    8. Xander Koolman & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2004. "On the interpretation of a concentration index of inequality," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 649-656.
    9. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, pages 5-21.
    10. Adam Wagstaff, 2005. "The bounds of the concentration index when the variable of interest is binary, with an application to immunization inequality," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 429-432.
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    Cited by:

    1. McGovern, Mark E., 2014. "Comparing the relationship between stature and later life health in six low and middle income countries," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 4(C), pages 128-148.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Low birthweight; Concentration index; Decomposition; Birth weight; Low--Social aspects; Birth weight; Low--Economic aspects; Birth weight; Low--Statistics; Decomposition method;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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