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Birth Order and Health of Newborns: What Can We Learn from Danish Registry Data?

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  • Molitor, Ramona
  • Anne , Ardila Brenøe

Abstract

Research has shown a strong negative correlation between birth order and educational outcomes. We ask whether birth order differences in health are present at birth using matched administrative data for more than 1,000,000 children born in Denmark between 1981 and 2010. Using family fixed effects models, we find a positive and robust birth order effect; lower parity children are less healthy at birth. Looking at the potential mechanisms, we find that during earlier pregnancies women have higher labor market attachment, behave more risky in terms of smoking, receive more prenatal care, and are diagnosed with more medical pregnancy complications. Yet, none of these factors explain the birth order differences at birth. The positive birth order effect at birth stands in stark contrast to a negative birth order effect in educational performance. Once we control for health at birth, the negative birth order effect in educational performance further increases.

Suggested Citation

  • Molitor, Ramona & Anne , Ardila Brenøe, 2016. "Birth Order and Health of Newborns: What Can We Learn from Danish Registry Data?," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145524, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc16:145524
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Björkegren, Evelina & Svaleryd, Helena, 2017. "Birth Order and Child Health," Working Paper Series 2017:16, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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