Working Papers, Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus
The effect of cigarette and alcohol consumption on birth outcomes
Abstract: This paper uses Danish survey and register data to examine
the effect of maternal inputs on child health at birth. The paper adds to
the literature in several ways: First, while previous studies mainly have
focused on maternal smoking, this paper factors in a larger number of
maternal health behaviors, most importantly prenatal alcohol consumption.
Second, it uses prenatal maternal reports on inputs and objective
administrative data on child outcomes. Both features of the data reduce the
threat of recall bias and measurement error. Third, the paper identifies
the effect of health behaviors by exploiting variation between siblings.
The results of the paper confirm and extend earlier findings. Maternal
smoking decreases birth weight and fetal growth, with smaller effects in
sibling models. The negative alcohol effect on birth outcomes is pronounced
and remains intact in sibling models. Both effects suggest a dose-response
relationship. Robustness checks suggest that the sibling sample represents
the population of multiple mothers well and that smoking results are not
driven by misclassification of smoking status.
Keywords: No; keywords; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: I10; (follow links to similar papers)
50 pages, January 1, 2010
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