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Recessions and babie's health
Aparicio, Ainhoa; González Luna, Libertad
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
We study the effect of the business cycle on the health of newborn babies using 30 years of birth certificate data for Spain. Exploiting regional variation over time, we find that babies are born healthier when the local unemployment rate is high. Although fertility is lower during recessions, the effect on health is not the result of selection (healthier mothers being more likely to conceive when unemployment is high). We match multiple births to the same parents and find that the main result survives the inclusion of parents fixed-effects. We then explore a range of maternal behaviors as potential channels. Fertility-age women do not appear to engage in significantly healthier behaviors during recessions (in terms of exercise, nutrition, smoking and drinking). However, they are more likely to be out of work. Maternal employment during pregnancy is in turn negatively correlated with babies' health. We conclude that maternal employment is a plausible mediating channel.
2013-07-11
Labour, Public, Development and Health Economics
Statistics, Econometrics and Quantitative Methods
recessions
business cycles
infant health
fertility
birth weight
infant mortality
spain.
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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/es/
Working Paper
         

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