The Long‐term Effects of Hospital Deliveries

This  paper  analyzes  the  long‐term  effects  on  mortality  and  socio‐economic  outcomes  from  institutional  delivery.  We  exploit  two  Swedish  interventions  that  affected  the  costs  of  hospital deliveries  and  the  supply  of  maternity  wards  during  the  1926–46  period.  Using  exogenous variation in the supply of maternity wards to instrument the likelihood of institutional delivery, we find that delivery in hospital has substantial effects on later‐life outcomes such as education and mortality. We argue that a decrease in child morbidity due to better treatment of complications is a  likely  mechanism.  This  interpretation  is  corroborated  by  evidence  from  primary  school  performance, showing a large reduction in the probability of low performance. In contrast to an immediate and large take‐up in hospital deliveries as response to an increase in the supply, we find no increase in hospital births from the abolishment of fees – but some degree of displacement of high‐SES parents. 

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