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Does economic recession impact newborn health? Evidence from Greece

Kyriopoulos, I., Nikoloski, Zlatko and Mossialos, E. ORCID: 0000-0001-8664-9297 (2019) Does economic recession impact newborn health? Evidence from Greece. Social Science & Medicine, 237. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112451


This study examines the impact of the Greek recession on newborn health. Using a large administrative dataset of 838,700 births from 2008 to 2015, our analysis shows that birth weight (BW) and pregnancy length are generally procyclical with respect to prenatal economic climate, while the risk of low birth weight and preterm birth are both countercyclical. We report heterogeneity in the relationship between business cycle fluctuations during pregnancy and newborn health across socioeconomic groups. Birth outcomes of children born to low socioeconomic status (SES) families are sensitive to economic fluctuations during the first and third trimesters of the pregnancy, whereas those of high-SES newborns respond to economic volatility only in the first trimester. These results are robust, even after using different measures of economic climate and uncertainty. After accounting for potential selection into pregnancy, we find that in utero exposure to economic crisis is linked with a BW loss, which is driven by the low-SES children. Our findings have social policy implications. The impact of economic crisis on birth indicators is more detrimental for the low-SES children, resulting in a widening of the BW gap between children of low- and high-SES families. This could, in turn, exacerbate long-term socioeconomic and health inequalities and hinder social mobility.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: Middle East Centre
LSE Health
Health Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 12:21
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:49

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