The Long Term Effects of Hospital Deliveries in Sweden

Nikolaos Prodromidis (University of Duisburg-Essen)

This paper analyzes the long-term effects on mortality and socio-economic outcomes from being born in a maternity ward compared to home births. We focus on two Swedish public health interventions that affected the costs of hospital deliveries and the supply of maternity wards during the 1926–46 period. Using exogenous variation from the supply of maternity wards to instrument the likelihood of giving birth in an institution, we find that giving birth in a maternity ward has substantial effects on later-life outcomes such as educational attainment and mortality. We argue that a decrease in child morbidity from better treatment in the case of complications could be a likely explanation for the large gains from being born in a hospital.