We take advantage of a natural experiment to provide new, credible evidence on the health consequences of scheduling birth early for non-medical reasons. In May 2010, the Spanish government announced that a 2,500-euro universal “baby bonus” would stop being paid to babies born after December 31st, 2010. Using administrative data from birth certificates and hospital records, we find that more than 2,000 families shifted their date of birth from January 2011 to December 2010 (out of 9,000 weekly births). The affected babies had about 250 grams lower birth-weight, and suffered more than 600 additional hospitalizations during their first few months of life.
Joint work with Cristina Borra (Universidad de Sevilla) and Almudena Sevilla (Queen Mary University of London)
JEL: H31, I12, J13
Keywords: Policy evaluation, child benefit, baby bonus, infant health, fertility, birth-weight.