Poverty Programs, Initiation Of Prenatal Care And The Rate Of Low Birthweight Births
This paper specifies and estimates an econometric model of low and very low birthweight rates for counties in the U.S. for the years 1975-1984. We focus on the impact of several specific public policy actions on use of prenatal care and the subsequent effect on birthweight outcomes. Our results point to strong racial differences in the impact of prenatal care on low birthweight rates. We also find that for the white population changes in income eligibility standards and expanded availability of publicly financed maternal and infant clinics have the strongest impacts on low birthweight rates.