Estimates of moral hazard in health insurance markets can be confounded by adverse selection. This paper considers a plausibly exogenous source of variation in insurance coverage for childbirth in California. We find that additional health insurance coverage induces substantial extensions in length of hospital stay for mother and newborn. However, remaining in the hospital longer has no effect on readmissions or mortality, and the estimates are precise. Our results suggest that for uncomplicated births, minimum insurance mandates incur substantial costs without detectable health benefits. (JEL D82, G22, I12, I18, J13)
"After Midnight: A Regression Discontinuity Design in Length of Postpartum Hospital Stays."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Asymmetric and Private Information
Insurance; Insurance Companies
Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth