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The impact of eliminating a child benefit on birth timing and infant health
Borra, Cristina; González Luna, Libertad; Sevilla-Sanz, Almudena
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
We study the effects of the cancellation of a sizeable child benefit in Spainon birth timing and neonatal health. In May 2010, the government announced that a2,500-euro universal "baby bonus" would stop being paid to babies born startingJanuary 1, 2011. We use detailed micro data from birth certificates from 2000 to 2011,and find that more than 2,000 families were able to anticipate the date of birth of theirbabies from (early) January 2011 to (late) December 2010 (for a total of about 10,000births a week nationally). This shifting took place in part via an increase as well as ananticipation of pre-programmed c-sections, seemingly mostly in private clinics. We findthat this shifting of birthdates resulted in a significant increase in the number ofborderline low birth weight babies, as well as a peak in neonatal mortality. The resultssuggest that announcement effects are important, and that families and healthprofessionals may face effective trade-offs when deciding on the timing (and method) ofbirth.
Labour, Public, Development and Health Economics
Statistics, Econometrics and Quantitative Methods
timing of births; benefit elimination; announcement effects; infant health.
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