Tag Archives: infant health

Heaping-Induced Bias in Regression Discontinuity Designs

Title
Heaping-Induced Bias in Regression Discontinuity Designs

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, Jason Lindo, & Glen Waddell

STATUS
Economic Inquiry | 2016 | 54(1): 268–293

LINK

ABSTRACT
This study uses Monte Carlo simulations to demonstrate that regression-discontinuity designs arrive at biased estimates when attributes related to outcomes predict heaping in the running variable. After showing that our usual diagnostics are poorly suited to identifying this type of problem, we provide alternatives. We also demonstrate how the magnitude and direction of the bias varies with bandwidth choice and the location of the data heaps relative to the treatment threshold. Finally, we discuss approaches to correcting for this type of problem before considering these issues in several non-simulated environments.

A Pint for a Pound? Minimum Drinking Age Laws and Birth Outcomes

TITLE
A Pint for a Pound? Minimum Drinking Age Laws and Birth Outcomes

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, & Marianne Page

STATUS
Health Economics | 2015 | 24(4): 400-418

LINK

ABSTRACT
Minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) laws are known to reduce alcohol consumption among young adults. One additional benefit of higher MLDAs may be that they improve health outcomes among infants born to young mothers. We estimate the impact of MLDAs on infant health in the USA by comparing birth outcomes among 14–20 year old mothers who were exposed to different MLDAs because of when and where they gave birth. Infants born to mothers who were between the ages of 21 and 24 years are included as a control group. We find that low MLDAs are associated with very small birth weight reductions, but have a little relationship with other traditional measures of infant health. We find compelling evidence, however, that a low MLDA increases the probability of a female birth, which suggests that restricting alcohol access to young mothers may reduce fetal deaths.

Coal, Smoke, and Death: Bituminous Coal and American Home Heating

TITLE
Coal, Smoke, and Death: Bituminous Coal and American Home Heating

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, Karen Clay, & Joel Tarr

STATUS
NBER Working Paper | 2014 | Currently revising

LINK

ABSTRACT
Air pollution was severe in many urban areas of the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, in part due to the burning of bituminous coal for heat. We estimate the effects of this bituminous coal consumption on mortality rates in the U.S. during the mid 20th century. Coal consumption varied considerably during the 20th century due to coal-labor strikes, wartime oil and gas restrictions, and the expansion of gas pipelines, among other reasons. To mitigate the influence of confounding factors, we use a triple-differences identification strategy that relies on variation in coal consumption at the state-year-season level. It exploits the fact that coal consumption for heating was highest in the winter and uses within-state changes in mortality in non-winter months as an additional control group. Our estimates suggest that reductions in the use of bituminous coal for heating between 1945 and 1960 decreased winter all-age mortality by 1.25 percent and winter infant mortality by 3.27 percent, saving 1,923 all age lives per winter month and 310 infant lives per winter month. Our estimates are likely to be a lower bound, since they primarily capture short-run relationships between coal and mortality.

Saving Babies? Revisiting the Effect of Very Low Birth Weight Classification

TITLE
Saving Babies? Revisiting the Effect of Very Low Birth Weight Classification

AUTHORS
Barreca, Alan, Melanie Guldi, Jason Lindo, & Glen Waddell

STATUS
Quarterly Journal of Economics | 2011 | 126(4): 2117-2123

LINK

ABSTRACT
We reconsider the effect of very low birth weight classification on infant mortality. We demonstrate that the estimates are highly sensitive to the exclusion of observations in the immediate vicinity of the 1,500-g threshold, weakening the confidence in the results originally reported in Almond, Doyle, Kowalski, and Williams (2010).

The Long-Term Economic Impact of In Utero and Postnatal Exposure to Malaria

TITLE
The Long-Term Economic Impact of In Utero and Postnatal Exposure to Malaria

AUTHOR
Barreca, Alan

STATUS
Journal of Human Resources | 2010 | 45(4): 865-892

LINK

ABSTRACT
I use an instrumental-variables identification strategy and historical data from the United States to estimate the long-term economic impact of in utero and postnatal exposure to malaria. My research design matches adults in the 1960 Decennial Census to the malaria death rate in their respective state and year of birth. To address potential omitted-variables bias and measurement-error bias, I use variation in “malaria-ideal” temperatures to instrument for malaria exposure. My estimates indicate that in utero and postnatal exposure to malaria led to considerably lower levels of educational attainment and higher rates of poverty later in life.