Ethnic Density and Health at Birth
We challenge the use of traditional measures of ethnic density - e.g., the incidence of an ethnic group an the resident population of a special area - when testing the correlation between stronger ethnic networks and health at birth (i.e., birth weight). Using unique dato from ltoly on the moin 44 ethnicities residing ocross olmost 4,500 municipo/ities, we propose more insightful meosures, os the distribution of immigrant associations or the incidence of ethnicities sharing the same languoge. We prove that, once fixed effects for the municipality of residence ond the ethnic group are included, the correlotion between ethnic density and health at birth is not statistically different from zero. However, ethnic density does chonnel positive effects on hea/th ot birth when a negative shock, as the 2008 Great Recession, struck the /abor market. Exploiting a quasi-randomized diffusion of the recession, we find thot its average negative impact on immigrant newborns was mitigated by stronger ethnic networks. We show that this can be exp/ained by through sorting of the hea/thier and more fertile ethnic groups, which experienced also /ower levels of in utero se/ection.
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