Soaking Up the Sun: The Complicated Role of Sunshine in the Production of Infant Health
60 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2013
Date Written: October 30, 2013
This research explores the role of sunshine in birth outcomes production. Its most obvious role is through Vitamin D absorption, which could explain racial disparities because skin pigmentation inhibits this process. However, the effects of sunshine are complex and closely connected to environmental factors (e.g., air pollution and temperature), season of birth, and policies like Medicaid. Combining daily weather data with 1989-2004 birth outcomes from the Natality Detail Files, we estimate sunshine’s effects in a range of models that disentangle these confounding factors and find they differ by race and explain a nontrivial portion of racial differences in birth weight.
Keywords: infant health, weather, sunshine, racial gap, geographic disparities, season of birth
JEL Classification: I1, Q5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation