Birth order and health of newborns: What can we learn from Danish registry data?

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

  • Anne Ardila Brenøe
  • Ramona Molitor

We examine birth order differences in health of newborns and follow the children throughout childhood using high-quality administrative data on individuals born in Denmark between 1981 and 2010. Family fixed effects models show a positive and robust effect of birth order on health at birth; firstborn children are less healthy at birth. During earlier pregnancies, women are more likely to smoke, receive more prenatal care, and are more likely to suffer a medical pregnancy complication, suggesting worse maternal health. We further show that the health disadvantage of firstborns persists in the first years of life, disappears by age seven, and becomes a health advantage in adolescence. In contrast, later-born children are throughout childhood more likely to suffer an injury. The results on health in adolescence are consistent with previous evidence of a firstborn advantage in education and with the hypothesis that postnatal investments differ between first- and later-born children.

TidsskriftJournal of Population Economics
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)363-395
StatusUdgivet - 2018

ID: 222750371