Intrafamily resource allocations: a dynamic model of birth weight

Publication type

ISER Working Paper Series

Series Number



ISER Working Paper Series


Publication date

September 16, 2008


This paper estimates a model of dynamic intrahousehold investment behavior which incor-porates family ¯xed e®ects and child endowment heterogeneity. This framework is applied to large American and British survey data on birth outcomes, with focus on the e®ects of antenatal parental smoking and maternal labor supply net of other maternal behavior and child characteristics. We ¯nd that maternal smoking during pregnancy reduces birth weight and fetal growth, while paternal smoking has virtually no e®ect. Mothers' work interruptions of up to two months before birth have a positive e®ect on birth outcomes, especially among British children. Parental behavior appears to respond to permanent family-speci¯c unobservables and to child idiosyncratic endowments in a way that sug- gests that parents have equal concerns, rather than e±ciency motives, in allocating their prenatal inputs across children. Evidence of equal concerns emerges also from the analysis of breastfeeding decisions, although the e®ects in this case are weaker.



working paper

Related Publications



Latest findings, new research

Publications search

Search all research by subject and author


Researchers discuss their findings and what they mean for society


Background and context, methods and data, aims and outputs


Conferences, seminars and workshops

Survey methodology

Specialist research, practice and study

Taking the long view

ISER's annual report


Key research themes and areas of interest