Maternal employment and the health of low-income young children

Lisa A. Gennetian, Heather D. Hill, Andrew S. London, Leonard M. Lopoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines whether maternal employment affects the health status of low-income, elementary-school-aged children using instrumental variables estimation and experimental data from a welfare-to-work program implemented in the early 1990s. Maternal report of child health status is predicted as a function of exogenous variation in maternal employment associated with random assignment to the experimental group. IV estimates show a modest adverse effect of maternal employment on children's health. Making use of data from another welfare-to-work program we propose that any adverse effect on child health may be tempered by increased family income and access to public health insurance coverage, findings with direct relevance to a number of current policy discussions. In a secondary analysis using fixed effects techniques on longitudinal survey data collected in 1998 and 2001, we find a comparable adverse effect of maternal employment on child health that supports the external validity of our primary result.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-363
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010

Keywords

  • Children's health
  • Maternal employment
  • Poverty
  • Welfare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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