The Demand for Health Inputs and Their Impact on the Black Neonatal Mortality Rate in the U.S.

Theodore J. Joyce

NBER Working Paper No. 1966 (Also Reprint No. r0992)
Issued in June 1986
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

Relatively high birth rates among black adolescents and

unmarried women as well as inadequate access to medical care are

considered primary reasons why the black neonatal mortality rate

is almost double that of whites. Using household production

theory, this paper examines the determinants of input utilization

and estimates the impact of utilization on the survival of black

infants across large counties in the U.S. in 1977. The results

indicate that expanding the availability of family planning

clinics increases the number of teenagers served resulting in a

lower neonatal mortality rate. Accessibility to abortion services

operates in a similar manner. Moreover, the use of neonatal

intensive care, which is strongly related to its availability, is

an important determinant of newborn survivability whereas the

initiation of early prenatal care is not. Overall, the results

suggest that lowering the incidence of low weight and preterm

births among blacks by helping women to avoid an unwanted birth,

may be the moat cost-effective way of improving black infant


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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1966

Published: Joyce, Theodore. "The Demand for Health Inputs and Their Impact on the Black Neonatal Mortality Rate in the U.S.," Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 2 4, No. 11, 1987, pp. 911-918.

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