Birth Timing and Neonatal Health

Authors: Cristina Borra, Libertad González and Almudena Sevilla-Sanz

American Economic Review, Papers & Proceedings, Vol. 106, No 5, 329-332, May, 2016

We take advantage of a new natural experiment to evaluate the health effects of scheduling birth early for non-medical reasons on infant health. In 2010, the cancellation of a generous child benefit in Spain led may families to schedule birth early in order to remain eligible for the subsidy. We document that the affected cohort of children did not suffer any increase in birth complications or medical conditions right at birth, but were significantly more likely to be admitted to hospital during their second and third weeks of life, suggesting potentially persistent negative health effects.