The impact of traffic on birth outcomes
LeCates, Joseph Robert
MetadataShow full item record
Considering a child’s health production function of mothers during pregnancy, I examine the impact of traffic on the incidence of low birth weight and the mechanisms by which the effect is made, specifically the number of prenatal care visits and planned delivery through labor induction or caesarian section for the first birth. Using the 2002 Natality Detail data file and the 2000 United States Census data, I merge city information to birth data in the largest 77 cities in the United States. The econometric results demonstrate that traffic does negatively impact birth weight and is statistically significant, though its small magnitude prevents economic significance. Finding that the number of prenatal care visits is reduced with more traffic, but also that traffic decreases the likelihood of induction of labor or caesarian section for the first birth, I conclude that the number of prenatal care visits is more likely the causal mechanism.