Department of Economics and Business Economics

Maternity ward crowding, procedure use, and child health

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  • Jonas Maibom
  • Hans H. Sievertsen, University of Bristol
  • ,
  • Marianne Simonsen
  • Miriam Wüst, Københavns Universitet, Center for Economic Behavior and Inequality (CEBI), VIVE, IZA, Denmark

This paper studies the impact of day-to-day variation in maternity ward crowding on medical procedure use and the health of infants and mothers. Exploiting data on the universe of Danish admissions to maternity wards in the years 2000–2014, we first document substantial day-to-day variation in admissions. Exploiting residual variation in crowding, we find that maternity wards change the provision of medical procedures and care on crowded days relative to less crowded days, and they do so in ways that alleviate their workload. We find very small and precisely estimated effects of crowding on child and maternal health. Thus our results suggest that, for the majority of uncomplicated births, maternity wards in Denmark can cope with the observed inside-ward variation in daily admissions without detectable health risks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102399
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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