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Prenatal care and birthweight production: evidence from South America

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Research using US data has shown that increases in prenatal care have positive effects on birthweight and that the existence of unobserved health heterogeneity tends to reduce the measured effect of prenatal care. This study extends extant research to the South American countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia and Peru using data from the demographic and health surveys, finding a positive effect of increased prenatal care use on birthweight. Furthermore, the largest marginal effect of increased prenatal care use is found at low levels of usage. The results highlight both the usefulness of existing methodologies for estimating the effect of prenatal care on birthweight and the importance of extending these methodologies to data from countries other than the USA.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Economics, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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