Demographic Analysis of Birthweight-Specific Neonatal Mortality
NBER Working Paper No. 2804
This paper explores the determinants of birthweight-specific neonatal mortality rates across States in the U.S. in 1980. We are able to explore the interactions between the determinants and birthweight because of the new data available through the National Infant Mortality Surveillance (NIMS). The NIMS links birth and death certificates for each state, resulting in a data base with race-specific neonatal mortality rates by birthweight, and other characteristics. Using a reduced-form model, we find abortion and neonatal intensive care availability to be the most important determinants of overall neonatal mortality. For whites, the two factors are of approximately equal importance in determining neonatal mortality. For blacks, abortion availability has twice the impact of neonatal inexpensive care. Moreover, our results suggest that neonatal mortality rates could be lowered by policies that reduce the inequality in these health resources across states.
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