Examining the Consequences of Poor Neonatal Health on the Family

DRC Working Paper 2019-10
Publisher: Cambridge, MA: Mathematica
Nov 01, 2019
Dara Lee Luca and Purvi Sevak

Using a 15-year panel from the Fragile Families & Child Well-being Study, we examine the consequences of poor birth outcomes for both the child and her family. We apply entropy balancing and weighting methods to account for differences between families who have a child with poor neonatal health versus those who do not. We find that children with poor neonatal health are more likely to be diagnosed with a disability and to receive Supplemental Security Income. Mothers who have children with poor neonatal health are more likely to reduce labor force participation at both the intensive and extensive margins when the child is young. Further, they are more likely to receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. We find no significant effects of poor neonatal health on maternal mental health or household income. However, parents who have children with poor neonatal health are significantly less likely to remain married or cohabiting.


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Purvi Sevak
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Dara Lee Luca
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