nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒03‒20
three papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
University of Wisconsin

  1. Obstetric Unit Closures and Racial/Ethnic Disparity in Health By Pinka Chatterji; Chun-Yu Ho; Xue Wu
  2. Gender-role identity in adolescence and women fertility in adulthood By Bethencourt, Carlos; Santos-Torres, Daniel
  3. Birth Order Effects in the Developed and Developing World: Evidence from International Test Scores By Andersen, Dana C.; Gunes, Pinar Mine

  1. By: Pinka Chatterji; Chun-Yu Ho; Xue Wu
    Abstract: This paper examines whether loss of locally available hospital-based obstetric services affects racial/ethnic disparities in intrapartum care access and birth outcomes in rural areas of the US. To conduct causal inference, we combine difference-in-difference and propensity score matching methods to control for observable and time-invariant unobservable heterogeneity across counties. Using data from Vital Statistics birth certificate records from 2005-2018 from rural counties in the mainland US, our empirical analysis reaches several findings. Women in counties that lost obstetric services are more likely to receive intrapartum care outside their counties of residence and to deliver in an urban county compared to women in matched counties. Nonetheless, there are no consistent effects of obstetric unit closure on maternal and infant health in the full sample. Among Black mothers, however, obstetric unit closure is not associated with delivering in an urban county, and there is a more consistent pattern of negative effects of closure on infant health. Importantly, the adoption of scope-of-practice laws for certified nurse midwives, the adoption of telehealth payment parity laws and the ACA Medicaid expansions have implications for narrowing racial/ethnic disparities in health in response to obstetric unit closures.
    JEL: I0 I1 I11 I14
    Date: 2023–02
  2. By: Bethencourt, Carlos; Santos-Torres, Daniel
    Abstract: In the new era of economics of fertility, the identification of the determinants of fertility has become one of the major challenges. This paper analyzes how the fertility patterns of both female teenagers’ own families and peers’ families (measured as the number of siblings) affect their future fertility choices. Our analysis distinguishes between the extensive (becoming a mother or not) and the intensive (total number of children) margin of fertility. We provide five main results. First, neither own number of siblings nor peers’ number of siblings affect whether a woman becomes a mother or not. Second, women with more siblings and women whose peers had more siblings tend to have more children. Third, the peer effect is stronger for women who reported having a less close relationship with their mothers. Forth, women that were teenagers characterized by high scores and being involved in activities related to popularity experience a negligible peer effect. Further, more communication between teenagers’ parents increases the influence of women’s own family but reduces the peer effect. These results suggest that fertility patterns of both female teenagers’ own families and peers’ families are relevant in shaping women’s identitydefining role in fertility, specially in the intensive margin; and that the relative importance of these two patterns depends on the quality of the relationships between all actors (between teenagers, between teenagers and their parents, and between teenagers’ parents).
    Keywords: motherhood, fertility, peer effect, gender-role identity
    JEL: J13 Z10
    Date: 2023–02
  3. By: Andersen, Dana C. (University of Alberta); Gunes, Pinar Mine (University of Alberta)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of birth order and family size on human capital using a consistent measure of cognitive skills across a diverse set of countries with different levels of development from PISA dataset. Using a birth order index that is orthogonal to family size, as well as controlling for student and family covariates, we find negative family size and birthorder effects in both developed and developing countries. Moreover, estimating the effects by country, there is no evidence of a relationship between birth order effects and the level of development, while the effect of family size is slightly higher in developing countries. The results also show that birth order effects are declining in birth order and that birth order matters more among smaller families than larger families.
    Keywords: birth order, family size, human capital
    JEL: I2 J1
    Date: 2023–02

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