Evolution of the Infant Health Production Function

55 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2017 Last revised: 9 Jun 2021

See all articles by Hope Corman

Hope Corman

Rider University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Nancy Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Date Written: December 2017

Abstract

Michael Grossman’s seminal publication on the demand for health and health production (Grossman 1972) has spawned a substantial body of research focusing on the production of infant health. This article provides a systematic review of the published literature to date on infant health production and how it has evolved over the past 3-4 decades as data have become more available, computing has improved, and econometric methods have become more sophisticated. While empirical research in most fields has expanded in corresponding ways, the infant health production research has become an important part of the broader and inherently multidisciplinary literature on intergenerational health. The strongest and most robust findings are that policies matter for infant health, particularly those affecting access to health care, and that prenatal smoking and other chemical exposures substantially compromise infant health. Promising directions for future research include elucidating relevant pathways, reconciling the largely inconsistent estimated effects of nutrition and education, and exploring the roles of pre-conceptional and lifetime health care, paternal factors, social support, housing, complementarity and substitutability of inputs, factors that modify effects of inputs, and evolving medical technologies.

Suggested Citation

Corman, Hope and Dave, Dhaval and Dave, Dhaval and Reichman, Nancy, Evolution of the Infant Health Production Function (December 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w24131, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3089527

Hope Corman (Contact Author)

Rider University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

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Nancy Reichman

Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ( email )

Somerset, NJ 08873
United States

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