NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Mothers and Others: Who Invests in Children's Health?

Anne Case, Christina Paxson

NBER Working Paper No. 7691
Issued in May 2000
NBER Program(s):   CH   HC

We estimate the impact of family structure on investments made in children's health, using data from the 1988 National Health Interview Survey Child Health Supplement. Controlling for household size, income and characteristics, we find that children living with step mothers are significantly less likely to have routine doctor and dentist visits, or to have a place for usual medical care, or for sick care. If children living with step mothers have regular contact with their birth mothers, however, their health care does not suffer relative to that reported for children who reside with their birth mothers. In addition to health investments, we find a significant effect of step mothers on health-related behaviors: children living with step mothers are significantly less likely to wear seatbelts, and are significantly more likely to be living with a cigarette smoker. We cannot reject that investments for children living with birth fathers and step mothers are the same as those made by birth fathers living alone with their children. Who invests in children's health? It appears these investments are made, largely, by a child's mother, and that step mothers are not substitutes for birth mothers in this domain.

download in pdf format
   (101 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the September 2000 NBER digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (101 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w7691

Published: Case, Anne & Paxson, Christina, 2001. "Mothers and others: who invests in children's health?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 301-328, May.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Case, Lubotsky, and Paxson w8344 Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient
Currie and Stabile w9098 Socioeconomic Status and Health: Why is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?
Chou, Liu, Grossman, and Joyce w13466 Parental Education and Child Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Taiwan
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us