Maternal employment and the health of low-income young children

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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

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Mothers
Health Status
Insurance Coverage
Health Insurance
Longitudinal Studies
Public Health
Maternal Health
Child Health

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Maternal employment and the health of low-income young children. / Gennetian, Lisa; Hill, Heather D.; London, Andrew S.; Lopoo, Leonard M.

In: Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 29, No. 3, 01.05.2010, p. 353-363.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gennetian, Lisa ; Hill, Heather D. ; London, Andrew S. ; Lopoo, Leonard M. / Maternal employment and the health of low-income young children. In: Journal of Health Economics. 2010 ; Vol. 29, No. 3. pp. 353-363.
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